ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - A former Virginia high school valedictorian who had been detained in Saudi Arabia as a suspected terrorist was charged Tuesday with conspiring to assassinate President Bush and with supporting the al-Qaida terrorist network.
Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, 23, a U.S. citizen, made an initial appearance Tuesday in U.S. District Court but did not enter a plea. He claimed that he was tortured while detained in Saudi Arabia since June of 2003 and offered through his lawyer to show the judge his scars.
The federal indictment said that in 2002 and 2003 Abu Ali and an unidentified co-conspirator discussed plans for Abu Ali to assassinate Bush. They discussed two scenarios, the indictment said, one in which Abu Ali "would get close enough to the president to shoot him on the street" and, alternatively, "an operation in which Abu Ali would detonate a car bomb."
According to the indictment, Abu Ali obtained a religious blessing from another unidentified co-conspirator to assassinate the president.