News & Views » Detroit News

Freedom fundraiser



One-time terror defendant Karim Koubriti is hoping the kindness of strangers will help spring him from the clink.

Koubriti’s defense attorneys are calling on colleagues around the country to help pay for an electronic tether so Koubriti can be released on bond.

Koubriti and another defendant were found guilty of aiding terrorists and document fraud after a nine-week trial in U.S. District Court in Detroit in June of last year. A third defendant was convicted only of document fraud, while another was acquitted of all charges.

But the terror convictions were dismissed at the request of the U.S. Justice Department earlier this month after a government investigation showed that lead prosecutor Rick Convertino withheld critical information from the defense. The Justice Department has decided not to re-try the two men found guilty of terrorism charges, but it is pressing ahead with the document fraud case against Koubriti and the other two men found guilty of that charge during the first trial. A new trial date has not been set.

Koubriti could be deported if found guilty of document fraud, which makes him a flight risk in need of monitoring.

U.S. District Court Judge Gerald E. Rosen, who presided over the terror trial, is requiring that Koubriti have a GPS tether for one year, which will cost $5,000. But who will pay for the monitoring device? Koubriti, who has been in jail since September 2001, doesn’t have a dime. The court doesn’t pay for the tethers as a matter of policy. That leaves Koubriti’s attorneys to come up with the cash.

“We are basically having to fundraise,” says attorney Richard Helfrick, who represents Koubriti.

Helfrick says he doesn’t know how soon they will be able to raise the money. But letters seeking donations recently were sent to organizations around the country, including the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, he says.

Attorney James Thomas, who represents Ahmed Hannan, who was convicted at the terror trial only of document fraud, also had to raise the cash to get his client a GPS so he could be placed in a halfway house.

The court clerk says that bond has not been requested for the third defendant Abdel-Ilah Elmardoudi.

Contact News Hits at 313-202-8004 or [email protected]

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.