The two men arrested in Marietta, Ohio and accused aiding terrorism after they had purchased numerous cell phones and airport information was found in their car will not be charged after all, local prosecutors announced today.
Washington County Prosecutor James Schneider said he didn't have enough evidence to present the felony terrorism charges to a grand jury. He said in a news release he needed more information to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
The charges will be dropped at a hearing Tuesday in Marietta Municipal Court and a $200,000 bond reduced to $1,000 each, Schneider said in a phone interview. . . .
"At this time we didn't see a link that we could prove," Schneider said, adding he was referring to both terrorism in general and any specific group.
But Schneider said the investigation is open and he could still present evidence to a grand jury to pursue terrorism-related charges.
The two men are still charged with a misdemeanor count of falsification accusing them of lying about why they bought the phones, Schneider said.
Schneider said his office and federal authorities don't believe "the defendants pose an imminent threat at this time."
An attorney for one of the men welcomed the announcement.
"We're grateful the Washington County Prosecutor's Office has been willing to keep an open mind and look at all the evidence and make their decisions based on the evidence," said William Swor, a Michigan lawyer representing Ali Houssaiky of Dearborn, Mich.