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Legal tender

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One-time terror defendant Ahmed Hannan may be granted a get-out-of-jail-free card. Well, free for him. His attorney, James C. Thomas, and about a half dozen other criminal defense lawyers volunteered to chip in for an electronic tether so the convicted felon can be released on bond.

Hannan, found guilty of possessing false immigration I.D. last summer, has already been behind bars more than 31 months though sentencing guidelines require that he serve less than half that time.

He was arrested in 2001 with two others for having phony documents and conspiring to aid terrorists; a fourth defendant was arrested the following year. After a nine-week trial last June, Hannan was acquitted of the terrorist charges, but found guilty of document fraud; another defendant was acquitted of all counts, while the remaining two were found guilty of having false documents and helping terrorists.

U.S. District Court Judge Gerald E. Rosen, who presided over the trial, suggested that Hannan be let out of jail on bond with the condition that he have a tether with a Global Positioning System (GPS), while the judge considers a motion for a new trial (News Hits, April 14).

If the conviction stands, Hannan would be deported. That, apparently, makes him a flight risk in need of monitoring.

But who would pay for the GPS? Since the federal court doesn’t have the funds, Thomas agreed to plunk down the cash. Other lawyers have since agreed to chip in.

“It seemed like the right thing to do at the time,” says criminal defense attorney Steven F. Fishman, who is among those volunteering to help pay for the device.

“It’s incredible,” says Thomas of the number of lawyers who came forward.

But the Michigan State Bar Association must first sign off on the deal, since lawyers are not allowed to post bond for clients.

“Is this a bond? No, it’s a condition of bond,” says Thomas, who expects to get the State Bar’s approval soon.

He says Hannan will stay at a halfway house after he’s released.

Contact News Hits at 313-202-8004 or NewsHits@metrotimes.com

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