By Elaine Silvestrini | Tribune Staff
— Sami Osmakac is asking taxpayers to provide him traditional Arab clothing for him to wear when he goes on trial next week
on charges he plotted a terrorist attack in Tampa.
Osmakac's lawyer told a federal magistrate this morning that Osmakac's family doesn't want to pay to clothe him in a robe garment called a thobe and a head wrap known as a keffiyeh. Lawyer George Tragos said he couldn't say why Osmakac wants to wear the clothes. U.S. Magistrate Anthony Porcelli planned to confer with District Judge Mary Scriven about what clothing might be available for Osmakac to wear.
The judge has previously given Osmakac permission not to stand when the judge or jury enters the courtroom because of his religious beliefs. Potential jurors will be asked whether they can still be fair to him, given that belief.
Osmakac was also found competent to stand trial, after a court-appointed expert concluded he is able to proceed.
Jury selection is scheduled to start Tuesday, and the trial is expected to last up to four weeks, including jury selection.
Authorities allege Osmakac plotted to blow up a popular Tampa night spot and then take hostages and demand the release of Islamic prisoners. He was arrested as part of an FBI sting.
The defense maintains Osmakac was entrapped and that he was vulnerable to influence because of his mental illness.
The defense also asserts that Osmakac was targeted by the FBI partly because of his “radical” Islamic beliefs.