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Supreme Court Denies Fraud Appeal

March 6, 2006

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Supreme Court refused Monday to hear an appeal by a former California highway engineer born in Algeria who enlisted his wife, brother and parents in an elaborate scheme to stay in the United States.

Zineddine Tirouda, the engineer, and his relatives had asked the justices to determine whether judges should tell juries to be skeptical of testimony from an accomplice when it favors a defendant.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said a judge may tell a jury to weigh carefully such testimony regardless of whether it is from a prosecution or defense witness.

Tirouda and several family members were convicted of passport and immigration fraud for lying when they said he was born in Meridian, Miss., and delivered by a midwife.

His mother testified that Tirouda was born while she and her husband were in the United States looking for work.

The scheme was uncovered during the FBI’s investigation of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, when agents retraced the movements of the 19 hijackers while they were in the United States.

Tirouda was investigated because he lived in the same apartment complex and attended the same mosque as Omar Al-Bayoumi, a Saudi graduate student who helped two of the hijackers settle in San Diego.

Tirouda said he did not know Al-Bayoumi, who is now believed to be in England.

Al-Bayoumi introduced hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, who later crashed a commercial jet into the Pentagon, to people in San Diego’s Muslim community.

The case is Tirouda v. United States, 05-7013.

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On the Net:

Supreme Court: www.supremecourtus.gov

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