Flint terror suspect wants witnesses' names, phone numbers; feds say no way

Flint airport stabber update

The man accused of stabbing a security officer at Flint's Bishop Airport wants the addresses and phone numbers of the government's witnesses, but prosecutors say no way — not given what they know.

The suspect allegedly "celebrated" the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on New York City, praised Osama Bin Laden for organizing the attacks, and considers the U.S. an "enemy of Allah."

Those are the latest details to surface in court documents about Amor Ftouhi, 49, of Montreal.

With the trial four months away, Ftouhi wants to know the identities of the government's witnesses. In a court filing today, his lawyer, John Morgan, argued that if he doesn't get this information, that could "stack the deck against the defense in preparing for trial."

Moreover, Morgan has argued, some witnesses could prove "that Mr. Ftouhi has no relationship with any international terrorist organization whatsoever."

But prosecutors argue that's unnecessary and too risky, given his alleged crime. Investigators say Ftouhi stabbed an officer in the neck with a long knife, "sliced his throat" and yelled, "Allah Akbar," which means God is Great in Arabic.

"The government has reasonably drawn the line at turning over information that compromises the safety and privacy of individuals who have spoken to law enforcement about defendant's gruesome attack," prosecutors argue in court documents.

►Related: Flint airport attack being investigated as 'act of terror' by FBI

According to an Aug. 1 court filing, here is what Ftouhi told federal agents in an interview after his arrest that he had entered the United States "with the sole purpose of killing armed U.S. government employees." He described it as his "mission," called himself a "soldier of Allah," and asserted that his "mission" was not over and that he would "continue to kill police officers until he, himself, was killed."

According to the government's filing, Ftouhi had planned to kill the police officer and take the officer's gun to kill more officers.

"'The defendant is charged with violent, dangerous crimes based on his commission of a brutal act of terrorism," prosecutors wrote, urging the court not to release the identities of their witnesses. "Any witness in a terrorism case is bound to react with fear and anger upon learning that not only their name, but where they can be found, has been provided to a defendant charged with terrorism-related offenses and his agents."

Moreover, prosecutors have argued, witnesses could be "traumatized at the prospect that the defendant and his attorney, investigator, friends, family or like-minded supporters will have the ability to find them."

►Related: Accused Flint stabber was truck driver, married father of 3

Ftouhi, who was born in Tunisia and lived in Montreal, is a married truck driver with three children. He has been charged with committing an act of violence in an international airport, which carries a penalty of up to 20 years behind bars, and interfering with airport security personnel.

According to authorities, Ftouhi had citizenship in Tunisia and Canada, where he lived for the past decade. On June 16, he  legally entered the U.S. through New York then drove to Michigan, where he allegedly carried out the airport terror attack.

Authorities have interviewed more than 20 witnesses in connection with the investigation. They believe Ftouhi acted alone, but are continuing to investigate.

Free Press staff writer Elisha Anderson contributed to this report.

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© 2017 Detroit Free Press


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