MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Jury selection proceeded slowly Monday in a major terrorism case in federal court in Minneapolis involving three young Somali-Americans.
Mohammed Farah, Abdirahman Daud and Guled Omar are accused of trying to join ISIS and traveling to commit murder abroad on behalf of the terrorist organization.
The case has unfolded over the past year, and if the three are convicted of the murder charge, they could face life in prison.
Of the 10 original defendants in the case, six have taken a plea deal. One, Abdi Nur, is believed to have made it overseas in 2014 and is widely believed to have died fighting for ISIS.
So far, at least 20 jurors have been excused from the case. At least 10 of those jurors were rejected because they stated they already believed the young men were guilty.
However, two individuals, including a young African-American man, were excused because they said they did not trust police.
A large crowd of family and friends of the defendants were present for the start of the trial.
Before jury selection, Judge Michael Davis refused to allow the attorney for Farah to withdraw from the case.
Farah and his family had voiced objections to attorney Murad Mohammed, who was Farah’s sole attorney after another attorney and a controversial Imam withdrew from his defense team last month.
After the ruling, Farah’s parents said they feared their son would not get a fair trial.
There were also several motions concerning the paid informant in the case, Abidrahman Bashir.
Defense attorneys want to present evidence that Bashir was arrested last month in Minneapolis on charges of accidentally discharging a weapon for which he did not have a permit.
The defense attorneys also want the jury to hear that Bashir told a doctor last summer he was suffering from anxiety and depression and was smoking marijuana at a time he was helping the FBI prepare the case.