FLINT, MI – A judge has denied a request from the man accused of stabbing an on-duty Flint Bishop Airport police officer in the neck to see the addresses of those who may testify against him.
Stating that she felt the decision to bar Amor M. Ftouhi, 49, from seeing witness contact information was “most prudent in the interest of public safety,” Flint U.S. District Judge Linda V. Parker denied a motion from Ftouhi’s government-appointed attorney, Joan Morgan, in court on Wednesday, Sept. 6.
“Those were very disturbing statements that were made after his arrest,” Parker said, referring to a filing from the U.S. Attorney’s Office stating Ftouhi told officials detaining him that he came to the country with the “sole purpose of killing armed U.S. government employees.”
“There was no ramping down,” Parker said. “He targets a group of people by profession. Those statements need to be taken with some degree of seriousness.”
Ftouhi – who has previously appeared in court for each of the hearings in the case, repeatedly declaring “Allahu Akbar” as he walked to his seat at the counsel table – waived his appearance at Wednesday’s hearing.
“(Ftouhi) told the interviewing agents that he had planned to kill the victim police officer and then take the officer’s gun to kill more police officers.”
The motion filed in June by Morgan claimed that Ftouhi was being denied the right to a fair trial by not being allowed to view the addresses and contact information for witnesses in his upcoming trial, currently scheduled for January 2018.
According to court records, prosecutors have proposed a protective order agreement in the case that stipulates information prosecutors share with the defense would remain within Ftouhi’s legal counsel and not shared with Ftouhi nor used for anything but trial purposes.
The agreement also said that government will redact any identifying information other than witnesses’ names in their statements — a stipulation Morgan said prevents her from “adequately preparing for trial.”
Arguing that Ftouhi – a Canadian and Tunisian dual-citizen currently incarcerated in Michigan – cannot act against witnesses from jail and that witness addresses would remain with legal counsel only, Morgan stressed that the safety of witnesses in the case “is a non-issue.”
The attorney for the man accused of stabbing an on-duty Bishop Airport police officer in the neck says her client is being denied the right to a fair trial by not being allowed to see the addresses of those who may testify against him.
However, in court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jules DePorre emphasized the potential “chilling effect” he believed allowing Ftouhi addresses could have in the matter.
“He had a mission and that mission was not accomplished,” DePorre said, explaining that it is plausible that Ftouhi could make a call from jail to reveal witness information to an “associate” in his home of Canada, and that the FBI could not investigate calls made to other countries in the same manner as in the U.S.
Parker said that while she would deny Ftouhi’s request for witness information, she “will remain open” to other arguments his attorney may have.
In an interview with government officials after he was arrested, Ftouhi allegedly told authorities he was a “soldier of Allah,” that his “mission” was not over and that he would continue to kill police officers until he was killed, according to the government’s filing.
“(Ftouhi) told the interviewing agents that he had planned to kill the victim police officer and then take the officer’s gun to kill more police officers,” the government’s response to the motion stated. “(Ftouhi) also told agents that he hoped the officer was going to die.”
In July, Ftouhi was indicted on one count of violence at an international airport and a charge of interference with airport security and faces the potential of a life sentence in prison.
He is accused of stabbing Flint Bishop Airport Police Lt. Jeff Neville in the neck with a large, serrated “Amazon Jungle Survival” knife on Wednesday, June 21.
Ftouhi shouted “Allahu Akbar” — “Allah is the greatest” — before making the attack, according to an affidavit filed by federal investigators.
After stabbing the officer in the neck, Ftouhi continued to yell, “Allah,” several times, the complaint said.
After stabbing Neville, the complaint said Ftouhi further exclaimed something similar to “You have killed people in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and we are all going to die.”