This afternoon, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit remanded the appeal of Ali Al-Timimi, the accused head of the so-called “Virginia Jihad” or “Virginia Paintball” case. The remand was based on evidence that was discovered by the defense after the appeal was filed. I am lead defense counsel for Dr. Al-Timimi and serve with co-counsel Thomas Huff and Allison Wood. We have long argued that the government has withheld evidence in the case.
This case centers on allegations that Dr. Al-Timimi— a computational biologist employed in cancer research and a prominent Muslim scholar—made comments at a dinner shortly after 9-11 that allegedly inspired certain men in attendance to go forward with a plan to travel to a camp in Pakistan run by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET), a group the United States would later designate as a terrorist organization. Under assorted theories of inchoate liability, Dr. Al-Timimi was charged with and convicted of 10 felonies. In a result that the district court described as “very draconian,” sentencing, he received a mandatory lifetime prison sentence.
I previously secured a remand of this case after media reports disclosed the existence of secret surveillance programs conducted by the Government. From April 25, 2006 until May 21, 2014, Dr. Al-Timimi filed roughly two dozen motions seeking discovery of undisclosed evidence. Virtually all of these motions were denied. To establish such a basis, the defense sought evidence through NARA and other sources using the Freedom of Information Act and other means. After years of such attempts, the defense was able to obtain documents referring to earlier investigations involving Dr. Al-Timimi and other figures, like Anwar Aulaqi.
Due to the ongoing litigation, I must remain circumspect about public comments on this case. Below are the filings leading to today’s remand.
On behalf of Dr. Al-Timimi and the entire defense team, we are deeply appreciative to the Fourth Circuit and look forward to presenting this matter to Judge Brinkema in the United States District Court for Northern Virginia.