A former Bradley student who was recently indicted on charges that he helped al-Qaida pleaded not guilty in a Peoria courtroom on Monday.
The date for the formal trial for alleged sleeper agent Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, 43, has been set for late May, but a federal judge told the Journal Star the date was set to satisfy al-Marri’s right to a speedy trial.
The trial will likely take place at the end of the year, U.S. District Judge Michael Mihm said.
Monday’s trial was attended by 75 people, a large number compared to other hearings that go before the same judge.
This was al-Marri’s second public appearance in six years, as he was locked up until last week.
Al-Marri was indicted Feb. 27 on charges that he conspired to help al-Qaida. The charges allege that from July 2001 to December 2001, al-Marri plotted with the terrorist group to lead a second major attack against the United States.
During the five months he was allegedly aiding al-Qaida, he was studying at Bradley to get his masters degree in computer science.
At the time of his arrest, al-Marri had files on his computer relating to the use of poisons and chemical weapons, as well as photos and videos of Osama bin Laden, according to the Journal Star.
After being arrested in December 2001, federal officials charged him with credit card fraud, claiming he was in possession of more than 1,000 credit card numbers.
In 2003, the case was transferred from New York to Peoria, but it was dropped altogether in June of that year after President George W. Bush declared al-Marri an enemy combatant.