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Published: Thursday, 10/19/2006

Terror case accountant will agree to plea deal

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A Michigan accountant who is charged with lying to investigators in the federal government's case against three terrorist suspects will enter into a plea agreement in U.S. District Court in Toledo.

Jihad Hekmat Dahabi, 47, of Dearborn, is accused of making false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements in the investigation of Marwan Othman El-Hindi, one of three Toledo-area terrorism suspects.

Mr. Dahabi allegedly met with Mr. El-Hindi in Dearborn to prepare paperwork for a nonprofit organization that would divert government grants for education services to jihadist paramilitaries.

Information was filed last month in federal court in Detroit against Mr. Dahabi. He agreed last week to have the case transferred to Toledo. Documents in the case were sent Tuesday to U.S. District Court in Toledo. Judge Jack Zouhary will accept his plea and sentence him. No court date has been scheduled.

Mr. El-Hindi and Mohammad Zaki Amawi, both of Toledo, and Wassim I. Mazloum of Sylvania were charged in February with conspiring to kill or injure U.S. troops serving in Iraq and others in the Middle East, and providing material support to terrorists.

They have pleaded not guilty; Judge James Carr has scheduled their trial for May.

The charge against Mr. Dahabi stems from statements he made in February to federal authorities who were investigating the three suspects.

Three days before the indictment against the men was unsealed, investigators said the accountant denied preparing documents to register the corporation in April, 2005, when he met with Mr. El-Hindi because he didn't have all the information he needed.

But in a second interview in June, Mr. Dahabi said he prepared paperwork to create a corporation for Mr. El-Hindi and an associate, and used the names of Mr. El-Hindi's children as incorporators so they could pay themselves with government grant funds.

According to court records, Mr. Dahabi was last employed by Expert Accounting Tax Services in Dearborn.

In an unrelated development in the terrorism case, a hearing will be held today before Judge Carr on a request from Mr. Amawi's attorney, Dennis Terez, to withdraw from the case.

Mr. Terez, of the federal public defender's office in Cleveland, would not comment on why he wants to be removed.



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