N.J. software developer eyed U.S. targets for terror attacks, feds say at trial openings

NEW YORK — A prosecutor told jurors in an opening statement Monday that a New Jersey software developer was truly a remarkably properly trained terrorist scoping out U.S. landmarks for assault from 2000 to 2005.

Alexei Saab, 45, of Morristown, experienced a double id whilst he worked for Hezbollah’s Islamic Jihad Business, prepared to assault Us citizens at preferred areas if Iran was attacked by the U.S., mentioned Assistant U.S. Attorney Samuel Adelsberg.

By working day, Saab was a computer software engineer doing the job for engineering businesses who healthy in plenty of that he grew to become a U.S. citizen, the prosecutor said.

By night time, he was “a terrorist and spy” scoping out likely terrorism targets in New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., and overseas in France, Turkey and the Czech Republic, Adelsberg reported.

Saab was arrested in July 2019 soon after remaining questioned during 11 classes about numerous weeks with FBI agents.

Saab’s attorney, Marlon Kirton, explained all the proof in the situation was from Saab himself and could not be viewed as trusted.

And he pointed out that Hezbollah experienced by no means attacked People in the United States.

In court docket paperwork, investigators explained Saab explained to agents he took images of structures and destinations which include Quincy Market and the Prudential Middle in Boston and the Capitol Creating, Congress and the White Household in Washington, D.C. A online video of Fenway Park was recovered from just one of Saab’s digital units.

Adelsberg reported the targets researched by Saab involved Rockefeller Middle, Grand Central Terminal, all 3 New York place airports, the Brooklyn, Triborough and George Washington bridges and the Lincoln and Holland tunnels connecting New Jersey to Manhattan, among the other places.

“On paper, he lived a normal daily life when in reality he was a sleeper agent for Hezbollah,” he claimed.

Besides surveillance routines in the United States, Adelsberg explained Saab also operated abroad right after joining Hezbollah in 1996. He said Saab experimented with to kill a man he later on understood to be a suspected Israeli spy by pointing a weapon at the specific at close selection, but the firearm jammed.

Saab is also going through a marriage fraud demand for allegedly marrying a co-conspirator in 2012 below phony pretenses. Saab’s attorney did not contest that demand.

Saab has pleaded not guilty to costs which includes providing product assist to a overseas terrorist group, conspiracy, getting armed service-form teaching from a foreign terrorist corporation, illegal procurement of citizenship to aid international terrorism and citizenship software fraud.

The most major cost carries a most probable penalty of 25 several years in jail, even though the expenses collectively have likely penalties of in excess of 100 many years in jail.