Calling the decision an “awful close question,” a federal judge ordered a 19-year-old south Minneapolis man held in federal custody for tweets that he allegedly sent threatening federal agents and a judge.
U.S. District Judge Franklin Noel quietly read through papers for several minutes before issuing his decision on the detention of Khaalid Abdulkadir, who sat between his two lawyers dressed in an orange jail shirt and pants.
Factoring in both tweets and e-mails purportedly sent by Abdulkadir, Noel found reason to detain him.
The hearing, which began last week, had been continued until Monday so the defense could bring his mother, brother and uncle, who live with him, to testify on Abdulkadir’s behalf.
They said his life revolved around his girlfriend, his job as a security officer, his college studies and helping out at home, not religion or terrorism.
But Noel found that the “nature and circumstances” surrounding Abdulkadir’s alleged tweets were sufficiently serious to hold him pending a grand jury indictment and/or trial — even though, in arguments before and after Noel’s ruling, defense attorneys questioned whether Abdulkadir had even sent the tweets and e-mails.
The complaint against Abdulkadir alleges that he tweeted from @kabdulkadir14: “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 from the same account read: “[Expletive] them F.B.I. I’m kill them FEDS for take my brothers.”
The tweets came shortly after the arrest of Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame, of Eagan, on charges of conspiring to support the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Noel noted that Abdulkadir also had exchanged nearly three dozen e-mails on two occasions in the past year with two Minnesota men who had traveled overseas to fight with ISIL in Syria.
In one, Abdulkadir allegedly wrote that he wanted to “chill with you as soon as possible”; in another, he said he was trying to get to “Sham,” another name for Syria.
Defense lawyers Christopher Madel and Aaron Thom questioned the authenticity of the messages and the tweets, saying they had not seen the e-mails.
Madel asked that the e-mails be provided to him as soon as possible so he could prepare the case.
Noel said they would be released in due time.
Madel pressed the judge, saying, “Wouldn’t it be terrific, your honor, to give us the e-mail upon which you just based your detention order?”
Prosecutors are expected to take the case to a grand jury to seek an indictment, proceedings of which are secret.
No public hearings are currently scheduled for Abdulkadir.