In this photo released by Attorney Tom Nelson shows Pirouz Sedaghaty, also known as Pete Seda. Seda, former director of a defunct Islamic charity, has decided to return to the United States to face federal tax charges accusing him of sending money to Muslim fighters in Chechnya, his attorney said Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2007. (AP Photo/Attorney Tom Nelson) ** NO SALES ** - AP

Seda asks court for some slack

Pete Seda has asked a federal judge to relax the conditions for his release while awaiting trial on money-laundering and tax fraud stemming from operations of his defunct Ashland Islamic charity that the government says aided terrorism.

Seda's attorneys have asked that his computer no longer be randomly monitored, that he not have to wear a GPS device and that he no longer be bound to his residence unless otherwise specifically allowed to leave, court papers show.

U.S. District Court Judge Michael R. Hogan, who is presiding over the case in Eugene, has given no indication in court filings when he expects to issue his decision.

In their motion, attorneys said that Seda has been living in a Portland apartment and "gainfully employed" since April, but no other information about the work was listed for the former Ashland arborist.

A one-time international fugitive who surrendered to authorities in August, Seda had a laundry list of special conditions when he was released after contested federal hearings in November.

Seda supporter Paul Copeland of Ashland, with whom Seda lived after his November release from custody, said he believes a relaxing of the release conditions was "pretty likely."

"It seems like he's managing pretty well," Copeland said. "He ought to be able to convince the judge he's not a flight risk. He's just working and living."

The request was filed by Seda's attorneys on July 23. Seda's trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 8.

Seda, 50, has been free under federal restrictions since November, 21/2; months after he returned from the Middle East as a federal fugitive to fight charges related to his activities with his Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation chapter he ran out of his Ashland home.

He was indicted in 2005 on money-laundering and tax fraud charges stemming from the alleged smuggling in 2000 of $150,000 from Oregon to Saudi Arabia to help Muslim refugees in Chechnya who later were labeled as terrorists.

The chapter and its other officer, a Saudi Arabian national named Soliman Al-Buthi, who is a co-defendant in the case, have both been labeled as supporters of terrorism by the U.S. government. Seda has sidestepped that designation.

If a relaxing of the release conditions were granted, Seda would likely continue to follow standard conditions for defendants awaiting federal criminal trials such as notification of employment and address changes, surrender of his passport and the inability to leave the state without permission.

Seda's monitoring is done through the Pretrial Services arm of the federal court.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 776-4470, or e-mail

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