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Trial delayed for man accused in Montana of Isis links

Trial delayed for man accused in Montana of Isis links

HELENA — A Montana judge has delayed the trial of a New York man accused of lying to authorities about discussions he had about joining the Islamic State group and avenging the shootings at two New Zealand mosques.

U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen, based in Missoula, on Wednesday re-set the trial date for 21-year-old Fabjan Alameti from June 24 to Sept. 3.

Alameti waived his right to a speedy trial and his attorney asked for more time to analyze the more than 4,000 pages of documents and recordings that are part of the case.

Alameti was arrested at a Bozeman gun range on April 3. Federal prosecutors allege Alameti engaged in contact with a "supporter of ISIS" he believed was living in Jordan, and said in encrypted messages that he was planning to travel to Syria to fight with ISIS.

In March, the FBI executed a search warrant on Alameti's Facebook account, according to federal court records, and found conversations about his intent to travel to Iraq. 

That same month, for reasons not explained in court filings, Alameti took a bus from New York to Bozeman. While he was traveling, authorities say the person who had been communicating with Alameti sent him a news link about the New Zealand shootings that killed 50 people. Prosecutors said Alameti pledged in his correspondence to avenge the Muslims killed in New Zealand. 

When Alameti arrived in Montana, however, he purchased an air pellet rifle and was kicked out of a hotel room for smoking marijuana, court records state. When police made contact with him in Bozeman, Alameti denied ever having been linked to anyone who asked him to travel overseas, and said he had never expressed a desire to harm any Americans or fight for ISIS, according to charging documents.

He has pleaded not guilty to making false statements involving terrorism and possession of a firearm while using marijuana.

Alameti's public defender argues his client's statements were protected under the First Amendment.

Missoulian reporter Seaborn Larson contributed to this story.


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