This just in from Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley, a letter to James Hensley, attorney for Abdulhakim Muhammad, suspect in the killing of one soldier and shooting of another outside the Little Rock Army-Navy recruiting station:
I was unable to reach you by telephone. Please call me as soon as possible so we can discuss my intention to seek a gag order in the case involving your client, Mr. Abdulhakim Muhammad. I am very concerned about statements attributed to you that I have been seeing and hearing about in the press and do not want your client's right to a fair trial thereby prejudiced.
Sixth Judicial District
Hensley has given some extensive interviews recounting his client's experiences in Yemen that he said explain some of his reported feelings of antagonism toward the U.S. military.
Hensley said he'd object to a gag order, though he wasn't surprised Jegley had expressed an interest in one.
"The FBI and everybody else is putting out all kinds of stuff about my client and that’s not going to go unanswered," he said. "If they put out half-truths and things that are inflammatory, I'm going to fight fire with fire. That's what my client wants me to do."
He said he wasn't surprised by Jegley's request, though he hadn't seen it yet when we talked by mobile phone. And he said he respected Jegley as a prosecutor. But he said he suspected some of the pressure was coming from elsewhere, particularly anonymous sources in the FBI who have leaked a great deal about his client's past to media. He said information has not been true in some cases. Today, he said, his client had been linked to a crime in Ohio because "he once happened to have driven through Columbus."
Hensley said Jegley was fair and had a "great team of prosecutors." He added, "They play by the rules. But others associated with the case are not reasonable. They don't want to try him in a court of law, they want to try him in the media. I don't appreciate that."
Channel 4 reports on Muhammad's brief court appearance today, in Channel 4 photo below, and the Columbus case.
And David Goins of Fox 16 talks further with Hensley, who expands on his client's earlier allegations that he was tortured in a Yemeni prison. He said his client also complains of harassment by the FBI.
David Goins says: "So your client says an FBI agent harassed him in Yemen?" James Hensley says: " Yeah and harassed him in Nashville." Goins says: "Are you saying the FBI aggravated him to the point of acting out?" James Hensley says: "That's what he would say. That's what he told me. Now, do we blame the FBI for this? I don't think so." Goins says: "That's why I asked." Hensley says: "Let's be real. The FBI in my view on this could have maybe handled it a little differently."
FBI is now not commenting. No wonder. They knew about this guy. Made contact with him. Presumably were keeping some sort of tabs when he was buying weapons. You can see where they might not want people talking about their role in this and that they'd prefer to control the flow of information.
UPDATE: The FBI comments. After a fashion:
The FBI investigation of Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad is ongoing, and, as expected, reports continue about investigative developments and/or direction. In the interests of protecting the integrity of the ongoing investigation, including the privacy of individuals involved, we cannot respond to every reported development. We continue to share information with our law enforcement partners, including the Little Rock Police Department and state and federal prosecutors. We also reach out to outside entities with information, when appropriate. Further information will be released to the public when appropriate."