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Wednesday
Nov092011

'Delusional' Terror Suspect to Use Insanity Defense

Lubbock County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images(LUBBOCK, Texas) -- A Saudi student facing terrorism charges in Texas intends to use an insanity defense at his January trial, his lawyers said in a court filing Wednesday.

Khalid Aldawsari was arrested in February by the FBI for allegedly preparing to undertake bomb attacks against dams, nuclear plants, and the Dallas residence of former President George W. Bush.

Aldawsari had been studying in the United States since 2008 and operated below the radar of law enforcement and counterterrorism officials until he purchased concentrated chemicals needed to make an improvised explosive device.

According to a court filing Wednesday, Aldawsari’s defense attorneys noted in a Monday filing with the court asking for a mental evaluation: “Upon interview, Aldawsari, seems to be suffering from severe mental disability, including delusional visions and beliefs. Due to this and other recent developments, defense counsel, at this stage, anticipates relying on the defense of insanity at the time of the offense charged in the indictment."

As the FBI began to monitor him in the days before his arrest, the FBI obtained secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants to enter Aldawsari’s home on Feb. 14 and Feb. 17 to conduct searches of his computers and belongings. According to an FBI affidavit in the case, journal entries that were photographed by FBI agents and translated allegedly revealed Aldawsari’s intentions.

Aldawsari’s defense team has filed a motion seeking to suppress the FISA-related evidence and disclose what the evidence reveals. A motion filed in the case notes the defense team must review the legality of the searches.

Attorney General Eric Holder filed a declaration in court seeking to bar the FISA-related evidence from being disclosed.

U.S. District Court’s Sam Cummings will rule on the defense request to suppress the FISA evidence. The judge has instituted a gag order in the case barring the parties from commenting to the media.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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