Seda's lawyers claim evidence leaked to spies

Prosecutors and lawyers for Pete Seda continue to argue over whether evidence seized from the Ashland headquarters of a defunct Islamic foundation should be tossed out in his money-laundering trial, in part because some of the evidence was given to Russian agents.

Links to a convicted Iraqi terrorist and even the 2003 Columbia Space Shuttle explosion also highlight a new series of documents filed in U.S. District Court over whether a jury will see evidence gathered by federal agents in a 2004 raid at Seda's Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation office and residence.

FBI agent David Carroll testified in a federal hearing last month that his agency supplied copies of computer hard drives seized from Seda's house to agents from the Russian Federal Security Service, the successor to the KGB, according to court documents filed Tuesday in Eugene.

While the hard drives contained evidence in the money-laundering and tax-fraud case against Seda, they also included personal information about Seda's family — including his wife and former wife, defense attorneys claim in the filing.

They claim the Russians wanted information about someone who had lived with Seda and that U.S. agents providing that data went outside the scope of the search warrant.

Prosecutors countered in Wednesday court filings that the claim was moot. Yet those documents also reveal that Soliman Al-Buthe — Seda's Al-Haramain partner and codefendant in the money-laundering case — corresponded with an Iraqi named Ali Al-Timimi, who was convicted in 2005 in Virginia for soliciting others to wage war against the United States and for assisting the Taliban.

"Al-Timimi contacted Al-Buthe to obtain Al-Buthe's assistance in editing and publishing an anti-Semitic article glorifying the crash of the United States Space Shuttle Columbia as a sign from God that 'overjoyed' the 'heart of each believer' and signaled the end of American supremacy," prosecutors wrote in court papers.

"Obviously, connections between Al-Haramain, Al-Buthe and terrorists such as Al-Timimi could be relevant" in the case, the papers state.

U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan has yet to rule on Seda's July 13 motion to suppress seized evidence in his upcoming trial, which was set to begin Nov. 30.

Russian agents and convicted terrorists are the latest players in Seda's money-laundering case that has led to the filing of more than 200 motions, documents and orders in U.S. District Court in Eugene.

A federal grand jury in 2005 indicted Seda, 52, on charges that in 2000 he helped Al-Buthe smuggle $150,000 from Ashland to Saudi Arabia to help Muslim refugees in Chechnya who later were labeled as terrorists.

The charges also allege Seda covered up the transactions by overstating the purchase price of a prayer mosque in Missouri.

The chapter also is at the center of a federal civil lawsuit challenging the warrantless-eavesdropping program begun by the Bush administration.

Seda's attorneys allege that the search warrant was, at least in part, based on previous illegal surveillance and wiretaps of Al-Haramain by branches of the U.S. government.

Seda was out of the country when agents raided his Ashland residence in February 2004. He was an international fugitive living in the Middle East until August 2007, when he returned voluntarily to Oregon and surrendered.

Seda remains free pending his trial. Al-Buthe and Al-Haramain have been federally designated as supporters of terrorism. Seda so far has sidestepped that designation.

Reach Mark Freeman at 776-4470 or

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