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Case Name United States v. Qazi NS-FL-0001
Docket / Court 0:12-cr-60298 ( S.D. Fla. )
State/Territory Florida
Case Type(s) National Security
Special Collection Criminal cases challenging FISA surveillance
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- All Matters
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- Foreign Targeting (702, 703, 704)
Case Summary
Two brothers, both naturalized U.S. citizens from Pakistan, were arrested while plotting to conduct a terrorist attack using a weapon of mass destruction in New York City in November 2012. They were indicted on two counts: (1) conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and (2) conspiring ... read more >
Two brothers, both naturalized U.S. citizens from Pakistan, were arrested while plotting to conduct a terrorist attack using a weapon of mass destruction in New York City in November 2012. They were indicted on two counts: (1) conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and (2) conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction. This case was assigned to Judge Robert N. Scola Jr. in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

On December 6, 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice notified the criminal defendants in this case that some of the evidence the government intended to use against them came from a FISA warrantless wiretap, pursuant to § 702 of the FISA Amendment Acts of 2008. This notice provided standing to criminal defendants to challenge the constitutionality of the government's surveillance techniques. All cases challenging this provision are available in the Foreign Targeting (702, 703, 704) special collection.

Represented by private counsel, the older brother filed a motion to exclude marital confidential communications on April 5, 2013. He tried to prevent the secretly recorded phone conversations between him and his wife from being used by the prosecutors as evidence.

He also filed motions to compel Foreign Intelligence Act of 1978 (“FISA”) materials pertaining to electronic surveillance and the physical searches pursuant to the use of information provisions: 50 U.S.C. § 1806(f) and 50 U.S.C. § 1825(g). The defendant argued that the government had not filed an affidavit indicating that the disclosure would harm national security, but nonetheless refused to disclose the materials to the defendant. The defendant’s motions were referred to Magistrate Judge John J. O’Sullivan for resolution. Represented by federal public defender’s office, the younger brother later joined these motions filed by the older brother.

The older brother filed an amended motion to compel advance notice of the government’s intent to use information obtained pursuant to 50 U.S.C. § 1881a on April 22, 2013. The younger brother later joined this motion. On May 6, 2013, Judge O’Sullivan granted the defendants’ motion.

The defendants then moved to suppress evidence derived from electronic surveillance or physical search conducted pursuant to FISA on May 21, 2013. A week later, the defendants also filed a motion requesting that the court declare the FISA, as well as FISA Amendments Act of 2008 unconstitutional. The defendants argued that the FISA violates the First and Fourth Amendments as well as Article III of the Constitution.

On March 28, 2014, the magistrate judge ordered the government to respond to this motion with a substantive memorandum of law. The government responded in April 2014 with a motion for reconsideration, stating that it no longer intended to use FAA or FISA related evidence at trial, and thus the court should not address the issue.

In June 2014, this case was reassigned to Judge Beth Bloom.

On October 29, 2014, Judge Bloom adopted Judge O’Sullivan’s report and recommendations and denied the defendants’ motion to declare FISA unconstitutional and the motion to suppress evidence pursuant to FISA. Judge Bloom indicated that he agreed with the government that the constitutionality issue was moot since the government indicated that it would not use evidence obtained from FAA-authorized surveillance.

On December 15, 2014, Judge O'Sullivan recommended that the prosecutors should be allowed to use the married couple's private phone conversations. 2014 WL 7895440. After considering Judge O’Sullivan’s recommendation, Judge Beth Bloom granted in part and denied in part the defendant’s motion to exclude marital confidential communications on February 19, 2015. Judge Bloom found that there was sufficient evidence to show that the individual defendant and his wife were joint participants in the criminal activity, and accordingly, all marital communications after this concealment were not privileged. The court reserved ruling on the two November 24, 2012 conversations until the government explained when exactly this concealment took place. 2015 WL 728386.

On March 12, 2015, the younger brother pleaded guilty to three counts: (1) conspiring to provide material support and resources to terrorists in preparation for the use of a weapon of mass destruction, (2) attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization and (3) conspiring to assault a federal employee. The older brother pleaded guilty to two counts: (1) conspiring to provide material support and resources to terrorists in preparation for the use of a weapon of mass destruction and (2) conspiring to assault a federal employee. The brothers acknowledged during the plea hearing that the younger brother planned to initiate an attack using a weapon of mass destruction in New York City and that he had been financially and emotionally supported by the older brother. They also admitted their participation in a conspiracy to assault federal officers.

On June 11, 2015, Judge Bloom sentenced the younger brother to 35 years in prison, and the older brother for 20 years in prison. Their prison terms would be followed by a term of ten years and five years of supervised release, respectively.

On June 3, 2016, the younger brother filed a motion to vacate his sentence (16−CV−61177). On May 15, 2017, magistrate Judge Patrick A. White submitted a report and recommendation to deny the motion to vacate as well as the certificate of appealability. On June 12, 2017, Judge Bloom adopted the recommendations from the magistrate judge and closed the case.

Susie Choi - 05/16/2017
Sichun Liu - 05/27/2019
- 05/27/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Records Disclosure
Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Special Case Type
Criminal
Causes of Action FISA Title I Warrant (Electronic Surveillance), 50 U.S.C. §§ 1801-1812
FISA Title III Warrant (Physical Search), 50 U.S.C. §§ 1821-1829
Defendant(s) the United States
Plaintiff Description The U.S. Government
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Criminal Conviction
Source of Relief Litigation
Filing Year 2012
Case Closing Year 2018
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Docket(s)
0:12-cr-60298-BB (S.D. Fla.)
NS-FL-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/01/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Indictment [ECF# 1]
NS-FL-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/30/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Intent to Use Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Information [ECF# 9]
NS-FL-0001-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/06/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Intent to Use Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Information [ECF# 10]
NS-FL-0001-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/06/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Pretrial Detention Order [ECF# 25] (2012 WL 7050588) (S.D. Fla.)
NS-FL-0001-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 12/19/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 77] (S.D. Fla.)
NS-FL-0001-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/06/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Government's Response to Defendant's Motion to Declare the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 Unconstitutional [ECF# 195]
NS-FL-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/12/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Adopting Report and Recommendation [ECF# 259] (S.D. Fla.)
NS-FL-0001-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/29/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Report and Recommendation [ECF# 264] (2014 WL 7895440)
NS-FL-0001-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 12/15/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Superseding Indictment [ECF# 267]
NS-FL-0001-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/16/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 275] (2015 WL 728386) (S.D. Fla.)
NS-FL-0001-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 02/19/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Transcript of Sentencing [ECF# 309]
NS-FL-0001-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/11/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Bloom, Beth Francine (S.D. Fla.) show/hide docs
NS-FL-0001-0003 | NS-FL-0001-0007 | NS-FL-0001-0008
Matthewman, William Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
NS-FL-0001-0005
O'Sullivan, John J. (S.D. Fla.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
NS-FL-0001-0004 | NS-FL-0001-0009
Plaintiff's Lawyers Dwyer, Jared Edward (Florida) show/hide docs
NS-FL-0001-9000
Ferrer, Wilfredo A (Florida) show/hide docs
NS-FL-0001-0001 | NS-FL-0001-0006 | NS-FL-0001-0010 | NS-FL-0001-0011
Gilbert, Karen E. (Florida) show/hide docs
NS-FL-0001-0001 | NS-FL-0001-0002 | NS-FL-0001-0006 | NS-FL-0001-0008 | NS-FL-0001-0010 | NS-FL-0001-0011 | NS-FL-0001-9000
Levy, Jennifer E. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
NS-FL-0001-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Barzee, William R. (Florida) show/hide docs
NS-FL-0001-0008
Chapman, Ronald Scott (Florida) show/hide docs
NS-FL-0001-9000
D'Arsey Houlihan, Raymond III (Florida) show/hide docs
NS-FL-0001-9000
Ecarius, Daniel (Florida) show/hide docs
NS-FL-0001-0008 | NS-FL-0001-9000
Fels, Adam S. (Florida) show/hide docs
NS-FL-0001-0002 | NS-FL-0001-0006 | NS-FL-0001-9000

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