A federal judge has ordered prosecutors to specify who was threatened in a series of tweets allegedly posted last year by a Minneapolis man charged with threatening federal officials during an ongoing investigation of terror recruitment in Minnesota.
Khaalid Adam Abdulkadir, 20, of Minneapolis, is scheduled to stand trial March 8 on charges that include threatening to murder a federal judge and federal agents. But U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier of South Dakota said late Thursday that prosecutors must name by Feb. 29 who was allegedly threatened by Abdulkadir.
In a similar case last year, another Minneapolis man pleaded guilty to a gross misdemeanor, rather than a felony, shortly after a judge ordered prosecutors to name the individuals he allegedly threatened in a series of tweets.
Christopher Madel, Abdulkadir’s attorney, said Friday that they were “pleased with the court’s ruling and … looking forward to trial.”
Schreier also denied defense motions to dismiss the indictment against Abdulkadir, saying the “true-threat exception” to First Amendment protection applies in the case. The U.S. attorney’s office declined Friday to comment on Schreier’s order before it files its bill of particulars next week.
It is unclear whether the government will be able to identify specific people threatened by Abdulkadir, who was indicted in December on charges related to tweets he allegedly posted after his friend, Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame, of Eagan, was arrested.
Prosecutors say Abdulkadir tweeted “More brother get locked up the cops body they will find on the floor body’s dropping fast #kill them FBI and [expletive] as judge.” Another tweet read: “[Expletive] them F.B.I. I’m kill them FEDS for take my brothers.”
But under cross-examination during a Dec. 16 hearing, FBI agent Vadym Vinetsky said the tweets did not identify a specific judge or federal agent, only identifying those threatened as “FBI agents and the judge.”
U.S. District Judge Michael Davis has presided over most of Minnesota’s federal cases involving ISIL and Al-Shabab recruitment. Though Davis was not named in Abdulkadir’s tweets, prosecutors have said it is unlikely that the tweets were referring to anyone else.
“There is one judge who is presiding over ISIL cases and before that Al-Shabab cases in this district and so [Davis], it would seem to me, is the victim of this alleged crime,” Assistant U.S. Attorney John Docherty said at the Dec. 16 hearing.
Abdulkadir is in custody at the Sherburne County jail as he awaits trial. Warsame, meanwhile, pleaded guilty last week to providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization and awaits sentencing.