Trump Justice Dept. Holds Keys to Release of Terror Suspect Whose Conviction Was Overturned

Hamid Hayat’s sister Raheela weeps at microphone (photo courtesy CAIR-Sacramento Valley)

By Crescenzo Vellucci
Vanguard Sacramento Bureau

SACRAMENTO – President Donald Trump – no friend of Muslims with his policy to ban them from the U.S. – may hold the keys to the release of Hamid Hayat, a Lodi man whose conviction and 24-year sentence was overturned this week on appeal.

Hayat, just 22 when he was sent to prison in 2006 for allegedly visiting a terrorist camp in Pakistan, was expected to be free by Thursday or Friday this week.

But that wasn’t to be. Despite the hopes and tears of his supporters, Hayat is still not a free man.

Friday his legal team was forced to file a motion in Federal Court here for his release. Apparently, Trump’s Justice Dept in Washington D.C. is making the final call of whether to release Hayat to his family.

His lawyers argued in the motion Friday that Hayat, had he accepted a plea deal originally offered, would have only served 12 years and nine months, much less than the 14 years he has now served after conviction.

The U.S. legal team – there is also a team of lawyers and others in Pakistan – includes Dennis P. Riordan, Donald M. Horgan, Layli Shirani, Martha Boersch and Ted Sampsell-Jones.

“(H)e has endured over 14 years of confinement in his effort to prove that he was not guilty of the crimes with which he was charged. Now that his convictions have been vacated, any suggestion that Mr. Hayat would abandon his family and community in order to flee the Court’s jurisdiction, or would engage in any conduct that would again subject his family and community to the opprobrium that followed his arrest in 2005, is simply baseless,” the petition said.

The legal team charged the “government cannot establish any compelling interest in defendant’s continuing custody pending a final determination of the case in the event of any appeal,” and asked that Hayat be scheduled a hearing to determine his ultimate fate.

Hayat’s lawyers noted that the “Court’s ruling in favor of defendant correctly construed and applied the legal principles governing defendant’s claims and rested on findings of fact concerning witness credibility that are virtually unchallengeable on appeal,” and said it would be “extraordinarily unlikely” the government would win on appeal.

The pleading claimed that Hayat had no criminal record before this episode, and has had a spotless record in prison. Lawyers suggested there was no “realistic risk of flight” by Hayat because of his “extensive” family ties in Lodi and Stockton, and that he would be employed and receive “all needed support services.”

To that point, Basim Elkarra, Council on American-Islamic Relations Sacramento Valley (CAIR-SV) Executive Director, said in a letter to the court that Hayat has “overwhelming” support in his community.

“I have been in communication with Hamid’s parents and family members who deeply miss him. They are eager to welcome him back home to live with them in Stockton. Business owners and employers in the community stand ready to offer Hamid suitable employment (and) the community is also willing to cover the cost of mental health and counseling support through nonprofit providers,” said Elkarra.

Several dozen family and friends wore looks of relief mixed with grim determination this week as they applauded the decision by a federal judge to overturn the conviction of Hayat, caught up in the wake of post 9/11 ant-Muslim sentiment after the 9/11 attack.

U.S. District Judge Garland Burrell. Jr.. Tuesday vacated Hayat’s 2006 sentence after he and other federal judges determined the then-young Lodi cherry picker did not have fair representation at trial, and, in fact, may have had a solid alibi to support the claim that he wasn’t part of a supposed dangerous “sleeper” terrorist cell based just south of Sacramento.

The court agreed with the defense team that Hayat’s original attorney was so inexperienced Hayat could not possibly have had a fair trial.

More than a dozen witnesses swore Hayat – accused of attending a terrorist training camp while he was visiting Pakistan – was in the U.S. at the time. Those witnesses were never called to testify.

Evidence that the terror camp was, in fact, closed during that time Hayat supposedly visited it was also withheld from the jury. Family maintained that he did go to Pakistan, but it was related to his mother’s health needs.

“Hamid has 14 years lost, behind bars. We ask U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott and the Department of Justice to show mercy and allow this young man to be released,” said CAIR’s Elkarra, adding, “At the time of Hamid’s case, the prosecution took advantage of anti-Muslim, post-9/11 bias to convict an innocent man. And this much-needed good news comes at a time when Islamophobia and bigotry as a whole (are) on the rise,” he said.

“I just want my brother back home. He’s been innocent for a long time. I want my brother back,” said Raheela Hyatt, the sister of Hamid Hayat. She wept quietly in front of the microphones Wednesday, admitting that she and her brother were “both crying” over the phone at the news, and that he was “already packing.”

Attorney Riordan said, “The court’s decision correctly finds that Hamid was deprived of a fair trial by the failings of his inexperienced counsel, but it does much more than that. Two federal judges have found credible the testimony of multiple witnesses that Hamid could not have committed the crimes of which he was accused. That is effectively a finding of actual innocence,” said Riordan.

And Hayat’s family said, “We have been waiting 14 long years for Hamid to be freed. Hamid cannot get those 14 years of his life back, but we are relieved to see the case take such a big step forward. We miss him and hope to be reunited with him soon. We hope no other family has to endure this pain and sense of helplessness.”

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  1. Jerry Waszczuk

    Why Trump was thrown into Napolitano’s and McGregor Scott’s  monkey business . Trump does not know that U.S Attorney for Eastern District of California  McGregor is Napolitano’s buddy . Napolitano re-appointed Scott in 2017 with $ 500,000 award for  his good job on Hayat and Senator Leland Yee . Napolitano thanked Scott with $ 500,000  and wished him  ” Bon Voyage ” in U.S Attorney office .  Now Napolitano is suing Trump and Scott is defense U.S Attorney for  the Trump’s administration . Business is business

    Hayat Defense Attorney Dennis Riordan should call  Janet and ask her for mercy instead of filing motion to release .

  2. Jerry Waszczuk

    In  2009, an appeal was heard  in Hamid Hayat’s case, but it took four years for the U.S. Appellate Court until 2013 to issue the opinion. Four more years of incarceration for Hayat who most likely cursed the day he was born an American citizen and paid for this privilege with 24 years in Federal prison just after he got married in Pakistan and brought his young wife to the United States.
    On March 13, 2013, one of the judges in Hamid Hayat’s appeal Case No. 07-10457 D.C. No. CR-05-00240-GEB, Judge Wallace Tashima, in his dissent opinion strongly condemned Hayat’s unjust prosecution and incarceration with the words:
    “This case is a stark demonstration of the unsettling and untoward consequences of the government’s use of anticipatory prosecution as a weapon in the ‘war on terrorism.’”
    This is exactly how Stalin’s prosecutors and judges were taking care of business terrorizing the population in the Soviet Union and Soviet dominated or occupied countries. Judge Tashima during World War II was thrown into an internment camp by the American Government even though he was an American citizen. I was thrown into an internment camp by the Polish Communist government on the cold night of December 13, 1981. I perfectly understand Judge Tashima’s opposition concerning Napolitano’s friend’s heartless ruling to keep Hayat incarcerated in Federal prison.
    It is worth noting that after law school, Janet Napolitano served as a law clerk for Judge Mary M. Schroeder of the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit and then Napolitano joined Judge Schroeder’s former law firm Lewis and Roca located in Phoenix, Arizona. It is also worth noting that Napolitano became U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security in January 2009, and on January 31, 2009 the UC Regents signed with me a Settlement Agreement of non-aggression but that Settlement Agreement was trashed by the UCOP in 2011 and I was almost assassinated by UCOP assigned thugs on May 31, 2012 in an unsuccessful provocation.

  3. Jerry Waszczuk

    In May of 2010, California Senator Leland Yee was delivered by Senate President pro tempore Darrell Steinberg (today Mayor of Sacramento), Assembly Speaker (today UC Regent), and Mark Yudof (then UC President) into the hands of Janet Napolitano (then U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security) and Napolitano’s friend Melinda Haag (then U.S. attorney in the Northern District of California) and Kamala Harris (then District Attorney of San Francisco) to convert Leland Yee from California Senator to inmate in Federal prison. It took four years of molestation by very skilled FBI agents to make Yee a terrorist associated with Philippine Jihadists from the Moro Liberation Front. This was no different than the framing of cherry picker Hamid Hayat from Lodi, California. He was thrown into prison as a scapegoat by Napolitano’s friend, U.S. attorney in the Eastern District McGregor Scott, who shared the $1,000,000 with Melinda Haag in 2016 when Napolitano awarded them for a Job Well Done. Hayat is serving 24 years in Federal prison for his alleged terrorist activities.   Before Janet Napolitano arrived at the University of California in September 2013, she made sure that Hayat, the victim of her friend McGregor Scott, would not  get out of Federal prison. Napolitano’s friend, a judge from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Hon. Mary M. Schroeder in 2013, took care of business for Napolitano. Hayat’s freedom in 2013 could have interfered with the ongoing FBI operation encrypted as “California Senator Leland Yee” and with Napolitano and her friends’ Melinda Haag and McGregor Scott activities to cover up UCOP mob white collar crimes. The stakes were too high to take such a risk. (See the Opinion in the Appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.) Leland Yee became a scapegoat for the white collar criminals from UCOP and the California government’s corrupted  swamp.

  4. Jerry Waszczuk

    MOTION to RELEASE on PERSONAL RECOGNIZANCE by Hamid Hayat. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1)(Riordan, Dennis) Modified on 8/5/2019 (York, M). (Entered: 08/02/2019)

    MINUTE ORDER (TEXT ONLY) re 754 Motion for Miscellaneous Relief – CR Ordered by District Judge Garland E. Burrell, Jr on 8/2/19 The Motion for Release is referred to the Duty Magistrate. The motion shall be scheduled for hearing before the Duty Magistrate Judge. (Furstenau, S) (Entered: 08/02/2019)

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