Miami Judge Rules USF Student Accused of Terrorism Can Stay

A USF student who beat federal terrorist charges doesn't have to be deported to Egypt

An Egyptian man who was acquitted of terrorism-related charges earlier this year should not be deported, a Miami judge ruled Friday.

Youssef Megahed, 23, won’t get out of jail immediately and is due back in front of immigration judge Kenneth Hurewitz later for a bond hearing. But Megahed attorney Charles Kuck said his client would likely remain behind bars if the government files an appeal, as expected.

He is being held at Krome Detention Center.

Still, this is the second time Megahed seems to have beat the federal government, which tried to nail the former University of South Florida student on federal explosives charges in April. He was found not guilty, but the feds didn’t give up and Megahed was again arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

"He was stunned," Kuck said, saying his client didn't initially understand the decision. "Then we explained it and a big grin came on his face. He was very grateful."

Megahed is a legal permanent resident who moved to the United States with his family when he was 11.

Megahed was one class shy of an engineering degree when he was arrested with a fellow Egyptian national during a traffic stop near Charleston, S.C., in August 2007.  Prosecutors claimed the lengths of PVC pipe packed with a common homemade explosives mixture found in the trunk of their car could have been used to build a destructive device.

A defense attorney argued the items were engines for homemade model rockets that were put into the car without Megahed's knowledge before an innocent college road trip to the Carolina beaches.

The three-week trial did not include details about the apparent terrorist leanings of Megahed's older companion and fellow USF student, Ahmed Mohamed. Mohamed, 27, pleaded guilty in December to providing material support to terrorists by making a YouTube video that demonstrated how to convert a remote-controlled car into a bomb detonator.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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