MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - The case against seven young men who prosecutors say planned to fly to Syria to fight for ISIS is starting to take shape. A judge expected to rule on a series of motions this week that could set the tone for the trial to come.
There have been at least 40 pre-trial motions from defense attorneys arguing everything from what is a terrorist organization to whether tight security at the court house is influencing the case. But we're also getting a more detailed look at the prosecutions' case, which relies heavily on recordings made by informants.
Recent court filings offer a rare glimpse into a complicated and murky web of relationships including how the seven were in communication with Minnesotans who years earlier traveled to Somalia to fight for al Shabaab, and those who had already made it to Syria to fight for ISIS.
There's Douglas McCain, who was going to help them with logistics before he was killed while fighting for ISIS. There's also Abdi Nur, who prosecutors say was "a constant source of information and inspiration.” The seven planned to be his "foot soldiers."
But the seven had a confidential informant among them, code name "Rover," who the FBI paid $41,000 to record their conversations. When they rehearsed battles by playing paint ball, defendant Guled Omar was recorded saying “we was literally treating it like it was real war, bro."
Another, Zacharia Abdurahman, was recorded saying, “they (law enforcement) know we're going to jihad, but they don't have the evidence."
But prosecutors claim the seven were becoming paranoid that two others from their inner circle already in custody, Abdullahi Yusuf and Hamza Ahmed, were cooperating with the FBI. One of the seven, Hanad Muse, said, “if he gives a deal right now, we can get locked up the next day."