WICHITA, Kan. - A man accused ofwhere 120 Somali immigrants live told The Associated Press on Monday that federal prosecutors waited until 10 minutes before his detention hearing to share their evidence with his defense attorney.
Patrick Stein called the AP from jail in response to a letter seeking comment. Stein declined to talk about the charges against him until he talked with his attorney, but he derided the Oct. 21 proceeding as “a half trial/detention hearing,” laughing about it and calling it “ridiculous.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Mattivi presented during that hearing a thick packet of text messages, photographs and other material, reading some of the text exchanges in the courtroom.
“We didn’t have any of that information that he laid out until 10 minutes before we went before the judge,” Stein told the AP. “That is how they are playing the game.”
Jim Cross, spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office, said in an email that prosecutors “worked to compile information as quickly as possible. It was provided to the defendants’ attorneys as soon as it was available.”
Prosecutors allege that Stein, 47, Gavin Wright, 51, and Curtis Allen, 49, planned to attack the apartment complex, which contained a mosque in one of the units, the day after the November election. All three men have pleaded not guilty.
Stein said that while he would like to give his side of the story he needs to discuss with his attorney whether doing so would hinder his defense.
“I can’t afford that - not when my life is on the line,” he said.
Stein was the only one of the three defendants who tried to get released pending trial, but U.S. Magistrate Judge Gwynne Birzer denied his request following a detention hearing in which she told him that he posed a “grave danger” to the community.
Mattivi read during that hearing Stein’s text messages with an undercover FBI agent in which Stein, using the screen name Orkin Man,and expressed his belief that the government is run by a terrorist organization.
Prosecutors, though his attorney, Ed Robinson, denied during the hearing that his client even knows of such a group.
“The Crusaders” first came to the government’s attention when one of its members, alarmed by the heightening talk of violence, contacted FBI agents and became a confidential source, according to prosecutors.
The FBI monitored the group for months and as attack plans became more specific, the informant introduced an undercover FBI agent to the group under the ruse that he could provide the requested explosives and weapons.
When Allen was arrested Oct. 11 for allegedly beating his girlfriend, local authorities learned about his involvement with the Crusaders and the group’s attack plans. Stein and Wright were arrested three days later.
Robinson provided a glimpse into the unfolding defense strategy when he told the magistrate judge that the three men accused were only preparing to defend themselves in the event of “massive social upheaval” as they accumulated firearms and ammunition.
Stein said he was “hanging in there” but expressed concern about his family.
“They don’t deserve anything of what they have been getting,” he said.