A federal magistrate judge has recommended that the terrorism convictions that have kept a Lodi man in federal prison since 2006 be overturned on the grounds that his lawyer didn’t adequately represent him.
Hamid Hayat was 23 when — in a case that riveted the nation’s attention — a federal jury convicted him of training at a terrorist camp in his family’s homeland of Pakistan and returning to the United States to lie in wait for orders to kill Americans as a jihadi. He is now in a federal prison in Arizona and has served half of the 24-year sentence he drew.
However, U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Barnes on Friday filed her recommendation that the convictions be thrown out based on her examinations of the case and of testimony by more than a dozen witnesses and experts. Barnes concluded that the failure of Hayat’s trial attorney, Wazhma Mojaddidi, to present the witnesses — most of whom are in Pakistan — deprived Hayat of a sufficient alibi that would likely have persuaded the jury not to convict him.