Suspected terrorist Adel Daoud's trial may be delayed

CHICAGO (STMW) - The trial of a Hillside man accused of trying to blow up a downtown bar with a car bomb may be delayed as a federal judge decides whether he’s mentally fit for trial.

On Thursday, Adel Daoud, 22, walked into U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman’s downtown Chicago courtroom smiling and waving, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

As lawyers agreed to discuss a competency hearing, Daoud asked his attorney, Thomas Anthony Durkin, a question: “Did she read the letter?”

Durkin said she had.

“Well, what did she think of it?” Daoud asked with a smile. Durkin said his letter is what brought him back in the courtroom.

The letter in question was written to Coleman last month. In it, Daoud said Americans are mostly “brainwashed,” and his case is “quite literally me vs. The United States of America.”

He also suggested an acquaintance of his, as well as a government lawyer, should travel overseas to pick his jury. He wrote that he “would agree to any of the following countries,” and listed 13 countries, including Egypt, Iran and Pakistan.

“I do not think that even if you were to pick 12 random Americans that would be fair,” Daoud wrote, adding that if the judge studied the Quran, she would be persuaded to become Muslim.

Coleman scheduled another hearing for next Friday to discuss a competency hearing. She said a trial set for Jan. 5 may be delayed if competency hearings are to proceed. She said it could be delayed “at least six months” because of her trial schedule.

Daoud was arrested in September 2012 after he allegedly pushed the detonator on a fake car bomb in hopes of blowing up a downtown bar. The fake explosive had been given to him by an undercover federal agent at the end of a monthslong investigation, records show.

Authorities also claim that Daoud tried to have that agent killed in the months after his arrest while behind bars at the Kankakee County Jail. He also allegedly tried to kill a fellow inmate in May over a cartoon drawing of the Prophet Muhammad.

Daoud was originally found competent to stand trial earlier this year. But in a motion filed this week, Durkin sought a hearing to determine whether Daoud suffers from a mental disease that should halt his trial. He also noted the uphill battle he’ll face in court in light of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California.

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