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MailTribune.com
  • Seda attorneys will question investigators

  • Pete Seda's lawyers today will get their long-awaited chance in open court to grill one former and two current federal investigators in Seda's money-laundering and tax-evasion case over why they failed to provide evidence before the trial about a paid informant's use early in their investigation.
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  • Pete Seda's lawyers today will get their long-awaited chance in open court to grill one former and two current federal investigators in Seda's money-laundering and tax-evasion case over why they failed to provide evidence before the trial about a paid informant's use early in their investigation.
    FBI Special Agent David Carroll, Internal Revenue Service Special Agent Colleen Anderson and Shawna Carroll, a retired FBI agent and David Carroll's wife, will testify today in U.S. District Court in Eugene during a hearing as part of an effort to throw out Seda's convictions for allegedly helping smuggle $150,000 through his Ashland-based Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation chapter to Muslims fighting the Russian Army in Chechnya in 2000.
    The 1:30 p.m. hearing is before U.S. District Court Judge Michael Hogan in Eugene.
    The agents will be questioned in open court about their actions and what defense lawyers claimed was their "outrageous conduct" over how they handled past and planned cash payments to Richard and Barbara Cabral in the case.
    After Seda's September conviction on money-laundering and tax-cheat charges, David Carroll asked U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton to approve a $7,500 payment for Medford resident Barbara Cabral, whose late husband, Richard Cabral, 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.
    Barbara Cabral testified at Seda's trial that she and her husband worshipped at Seda's prayer house in Ashland and that Seda wanted to give funds to the Chechen mujahideen.
    Holton refused the payment to Barbara Cabral in December and also ordered information about the payments divulged to defense attorneys, but that was well after Seda's conviction.
    Defense lawyers argue that the payments would have bolstered their cross-examination of Cabral had the information been revealed to the jury during Seda's trial.
    David Carroll and Anderson already have filed sworn affidavits about their actions. In an earlier ruling, Hogan characterized the disclosure as inadvertent mistakes that would not have changed the outcome of the trial, but he ordered today's hearing scheduled in response to more defense motions.
    Shawna Carroll, who originally signed Richard Cabral as an informant, was a late entry into today's hearing.
    Seda's defense team filed motions asking Hogan to force David Carroll and Anderson to face cross-examination on the stand about what defense attorneys claimed were inconsistencies that pointed to "knowledge, intent, recklessness, and willful blindness of the prosecution team."
    Hogan earlier denied the defense team's request to force federal prosecutors involved in the case to testify as well.
    Seda, 53, remains free while the post-conviction legal fight continues. If his conviction stands, Seda faces as many 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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