Seda's defense team faults federal attorneys

EUGENE, Ore. — Defense lawyers seeking a new trial for Pete Seda, an Ashland man who represented the Oregon branch of an Islamic charity linked to terrorism, have asked a judge to take the U.S. attorney's office in Oregon off the case.

The unusual request came as Seda, an Iranian-born U.S. citizen, seeks a new trial after being convicted of conspiracy to defraud the government and filing a false tax return. He was found guilty in September for helping relay $150,000 to Muslim fighters in Chechnya in 2001 through the Ashland office of the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation.

His attorneys are asking for a new trial because they claim federal prosecutors failed to disclose payments to the husband of a key witness.

U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan said Tuesday in Eugene that he would not respond to an oral request, and defense lawyer Steven T. Wax said he would file a written motion.

Defense lawyers are trying to get more evidence from prosecutors about why they failed to disclose before trial that the husband of a witness was a paid FBI informant, and why the FBI also wanted to pay the witness herself.

— Associated Press

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