Possible Prison Time for Former Guard Accused Of Hiding Muslim Ties

Posted on August 14, 2007

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By Dan Morse; Washington Post Staff Writer

On April 19, 2005, Darrick Jackson completed an application to work as a private security guard at an entrance gate to Andrews Air Force Base.

“Have you ever used or been known by another name?” he was asked in the second of 20 queries.

“No,” Jackson answered.

He got the job.

Federal prosecutors now allege that Jackson intentionally withheld his Muslim name, Abdul-Jalil Mohammad, to conceal a connection to a controversial imam in Southeast Washington. Jackson, 37, who is no longer in the civilian job, has been charged with making a false statement, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

In a pretrial hearing scheduled for today, prosecutors are expected to argue that they should be permitted to present evidence at trial that they say links Jackson to extremist views. The evidence includes speeches in which the imam wishes for the U.S. government’s collapse, essays posted on Jackson’s MuslimSpace Web page and a mosque directory listing Jackson as the head of security.

Jackson’s attorneys argue that he believed the question applied to maiden names for female applicants and that the omission was at worst an innocent mistake. They say that Jackson has never advocated violence toward the United States, that his religious and political views are irrelevant to the case and that airing them before a jury would deprive him of his right to a fair trial.

“In these times in our country, the mere suggestion that a defendant may be a terrorist sympathizer is extraordinarily prejudicial,” John Chamble, one of Jackson’s attorneys, wrote in a court filing last month.

In addition, the defense alleges that authorities built the case to goad Jackson into giving up information on the imam, who claimed in an interview that the FBI has been watching him for four decades. [more]

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