Remember the accused pipe bomb boys arrested on the road to Goose Creek Naval Weapons Station in South Carolina? Here’s a new update. The Tampa Tribune reports today that a federal grand jury investigating the case has asked for DNA and hair samples from one of the suspects:
A federal grand jury in Tampa is asking for DNA and hair samples from a University of South Florida student jailed four weeks ago in South Carolina on explosives charges, his attorney said.
Andrew Savage said in a phone interview Wednesday night that he had no indication why the samples were being sought from his client, Youssef Megahed.
The news came as the grand jury heard testimony Wednesday from people who have connections to Megahed and Ahmed Mohamed, another USF student arrested at the same time.
Accompanied by attorneys, at least three people entered the grand jury area of the U.S. District courthouse on North Florida Avenue in downtown Tampa. They were the owner of a home where Mohamed planned to rent a room, the landlord’s son and a Muslim community spokesman. All three later declined to comment to a reporter.
Noor and Ghassan Salhab, with attorney Brooke Elvington, spent about an hour in the grand jury area Wednesday and refused to comment to the media. The Tribune notes that Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Hoffer gave U.S. Magistrate Thomas Wilson a report from the grand jury, which was promptly sealed.
Curiouser and curiouser. CAIR remains entangled in the case, natch:
Also appearing before the grand jury Wednesday was Ahmed Bedier, who has been a spokesman for the Megahed family. Bedier is executive director of the Tampa chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations and a frequent media spokesman for Muslims and Islamic causes.
He was accompanied by attorney Lyann Goudie and appeared to be in the grand jury area for about an hour.
Bedier declined to answer questions about his testimony, saying he wanted to check with the national headquarters of CAIR about what he was allowed to say.
You’ll recall from my last post on the subject that the Tampa home raided in connection with the arrests was a home that had been rented previously to WISE (World and Islam Studies Enterprise), one of two groups founded by convicted jihad supporter Sami Al-Arian, who was a professor at University of South Florida–the same university that the suspects, Ahmed Megahed and Yousef Mohamed, attend.
Just a reminder that the police in SC are standing by their charges and that one FBI official disputed recent characterizations of its press release about the case. One more tidbit from a recent St. Petersburg Times article worth noting:
Prosecutors say they are still trying to determine what the men were doing, where they were headed.
“That’s the unusual part,” said Frank Hunt, a spokesman for the Solicitor’s Office. “They said they were going to North Carolina on the way to the beach. Well, that’s not the way to North Carolina.”
…The car had a Global Positioning System device, so investigators would have a record of all the men’s movements…Not to mention cell phone records.
There’s a preliminary hearing on the explosive charges set for Sept. 21.