MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Days before a major terror recruiting trial, an attorney for one of the defendants wants off the case.
The attorney for Mohammed Farah filed the request late Thursday afternoon.
Farah’s parents, Ayan and Abdihamid Farah, said at a press conference they agreed that the attorney should be taken off the case.
The Farahs say they are angry that the attorney wanted their son to plead guilty to a murder charge.
Farah and two other young Twin Cities men are scheduled to go on trial Monday on charges of trying to join ISIS and conspiracy to travel overseas to commit murder.
They could spend the rest of their lives in prison if found guilty on the murder charge.
The parents of 22-year-old Mohammed say their reasoning is simple — he is not a murderer. The Farahs’ situation is unique because Mohamed’s brother was also charged in this case
Ayan and Abdihamid Farah, speaking largely through an interpreter, denounced a plea deal they say was offered to their son that would have required him to admit he planned to travel overseas to commit murder on behalf of ISIS.
“His mother told him, ‘How could you accept something you did not commit as you did not murder anybody?'” said Abdihamid Farah, via translater Sadik Warfa.
The Farahs want Mohamed’s attorney, Murad Mohammad, off the case because they say he had encouraged Mohamed to take the deal.
Their other son, Adnan Farah, took a plea deal last month that allowed him to plead guilty to a charge of trying to join ISIS — a deal that could result in 15 years in prison.
Six of the original ten defendants have also pleaded guilty to trying to join the terror organization. While prosecutors are not commenting, it appears the three remaining defendants scheduled to go on trial Monday were never offered that deal. Court document suggest prosecutors believe the remaining three were the most involved in the plot.
The Farahs also allege that Mohamed is receiving harsher treatment in prison.
“He has been placed on 20-hours lockdown,” said translator Sadik Warfa. “The family, the mother, she was unable to visit him.”
Attorney Murad Mohammad filed a motion Thursday afternoon to withdraw from the case, but there are no further details because the motion was sealed. There will be a hearing regarding the motion Monday at 9 a.m.
WCCO did reach out to Murad Mohammad and the United States Marshals Service to see if they had any comment, but did not hear back from either.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment.