By Philip Jankowski
Killeen Daily Herald
A federal district judge Wednesday denied the defense attorney for Pfc. Naser Jason Abdo, 21, a motion seeking additional compensation from the U.S. government.
U.S. District Court Judge Walter S. Smith of Waco denied the motion filed by Copperas Cove attorney Zachary Boyd. In a written ruling, Smith stated Boyd's motion was premature.
Abdo is facing up to life in prison if convicted of the most serious charge against him: attempted murder of officers or employees of the United States. He also is charged with eight other felonies stemming from an alleged plot to kill Fort Hood soldiers in July.
Boyd requested Smith declare the case "extended and complex," and because of the nature, Boyd would require compensation beyond the maximum provided under federal law.
Federal law limits compensation to court-appointed attorneys in felony cases to no more than $3,500.
In the motion filed Jan. 17, Boyd said he already has expended a large amount of time on Abdo's case. He said the amount of documents the government is providing him are "voluminous." The prosecution has indicated more documents are on the way, Boyd said in his brief.
Boyd was appointed as Abdo's defense attorney Dec. 22 after a judge granted Abdo's motion for new counsel. Abdo said in court that he and his former defense team had disagreements over trial strategy.
Killeen police arrested Abdo on July 27 after receiving a tip from a local gun store clerk about a suspicious person. Abdo bought gunpowder from Guns Galore the day before his arrest. He also purchased a uniform from a local Army surplus store.
Police arrested Abdo in the parking lot of a hotel on Fort Hood Street. In Abdo's hotel room and backpack, investigators located several items they believe were components being assembled to build shrapnel bombs. The private first class also had a copy of a bomb recipe printed in an al-Qaida publication.
The Fort Campbell, Ky., soldier later admitted to an investigator from the Federal Bureau of Investigation that he intended to set off a bomb at a restaurant frequented by Fort Hood soldiers and shoot any survivors.
Abdo was hours from completing construction of the bombs, according to testimony from an FBI agent.
His trial is set for May 21.
According to court documents, a trial lawyer from the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department's National Security Division joined the prosecution. Washington, D.C., trial lawyer Larry Schneider filed an appearance of counsel with the district court on Jan. 17.
Schneider recently prosecuted Iraqi citizen Waad Ramadan Alwan, who pleaded guilty to terrorist charges in December. U.S. Attorney Mark Frazier also is representing the government.