Former FBI agent must testify about payments

A former FBI agent who first handled an informant paid to keep tabs on Ashland peace activist Pete Seda will have to testify in open court while defense attorneys attempt to toss out Seda's money-laundering and tax-cheat convictions because the payments were not disclosed before the September trial.

U.S. District Court Judge Michael Hogan late Monday ordered that former FBI Agent Shawna Carroll join FBI Special Agent David Carroll and Internal Revenue Service Special Agent Colleen Anderson as witnesses in the June 7 hearing in U.S. District Court in Eugene.

Shawna Carroll, who is David Carroll's wife, was expected to be grilled about her dealings with Richard Cabral, who was paid $14,500 while providing information to the FBI about Seda and other Muslims in the area after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to court documents.

Cabral died before Seda's trial. But his former wife, Barbara Cabral, testified at Seda's trial for the prosecution, and David Carroll in December sought a $7,500 cash payment to Cabral for her assistance, records state.

Only after that request did the government disclose the past payments to Richard Cabral and the payment sought for Barbara Cabral but declined by U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton, records state.

Defense lawyers claim that lack of disclosure harmed their ability to cross-examine Barbara Cabral during the trial and that it represents "outrageous conduct" that should get Seda's convictions tossed out.

In court papers, Hogan previously deemed the disclosure failures to be inadvertent mistakes that would not have altered the trial's outcome.

Hogan's written ruling included no explanation.

Defense attorneys are pushing to overturn the 53-year-old Seda's convictions for allegedly helping smuggle $150,000 through his Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation chapter to Muslims fighting the Russian Army in Chechnya in 2000.

Barbara Cabral testified at Seda's trial that she and her husband worshipped at Seda's prayer house in Ashland.

She also testified that she went with him on a pilgrimage to Mecca, where Seda asked them to donate $400 in leftover travel money to buy food and blankets for mujahedeen fighting the Russian Army in Chechnya.

Seda remains free while the post-conviction legal fight continues. If his conviction stands, Seda faces as much as eight years in federal prison for his conviction if Hogan accepts federal prosecutors' assertions that his sentence should be enhanced because the crimes aided terrorists.

Seda has never been labeled by the government as a supporter of terrorism. However, his Al-Haramain chapter and a co-defendant in the case — a Saudi national named Soliman Al-Buthe — have been labeled supporters of terrorism and both are fighting that designation.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email at mfreeman@mailtribune.com.


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