MANHATTAN (CN) – The case of the alleged synagogue bomb plotters from Queens took a turn to the absurd on Tuesday as one defense attorney explained how she previously and unwittingly represented the undercover cop who ensnared her client.
Queens residents Ahmed Ferhani, 26, and Mohamed Mamdouh, 20, are accused of plotting to bomb New York synagogues. They were caught by police in an undercover sting operation.
The men, who recently pleaded not guilty to the charges, say the officer entrapped them, knowing that Ferhani had a long history of mental illness.
At a hearing on Tuesday, prosecutors said that one of Ferhani’s attorneys, Lamis Deek, once represented the same cop whom she now accuses of entrapment.
Deek told reporters outside the courtroom that a man who said his name was Ilter Ayturk came to her to fight a disorderly conduct summons he received at a rally on Sept. 11, 2010.
But “Ayturk” was actually performing undercover surveillance on a rally to support the Islamic cultural center, Park51, demonized last year as “the Ground Zero mosque,” Deek said.
“The cause of summons was, ironically enough, an altercation between him and another police officer,” Deek said. “He refused to obey a police officer’s directive, supposedly.”
Deek said she does not know anything about the officer’s true identity, but she now believes he may have courted the summons to “make people believe that he’s been victimized and build solidarity with the people that he was targeting.”
Two months later, Ayturk’s summons was dismissed on motion from the District Attorney’s office, and the cops who charged him did not show, Deek said.
About a year later, prosecutors sent a letter to the defense, ostensibly to inform their clients of any potential conflict-of-interest or attorney-client privilege.
At the hearing, Ferhani and Mamdouh, clad in orange jumpsuits from prison, did not say a word, as their attorneys told the judge that they knew about the incident but did not want to lose Deek, who is widely known for her activism in the Muslim community.
Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Michael Obus said that the revelation will not affect the case, for now.
“There is no such thing as a coincidence,” Deek said outside the court, with a faintly amused smile.
The next court date is set for Nov. 4.