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N.J. Man Seeks Appeal in Fake ID Case

January 10, 2003

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) _ A man accused of providing phony IDs to two of the hijackers involved in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks asked for an emergency hearing to challenge the use of secret evidence in his case.

Mohamed el-Atriss’ bail was doubled to $500,000 by a state judge on Nov. 19 after a sheriff’s detective and another unidentified witness testified during a secret hearing about additional evidence against the Union Township man.

El-Atriss, 46, and Hassan Abdellah, his attorney at the time, were not allowed to attend the hearing after Passaic County prosecutors said that making the new evidence public would harm the investigation.

Prosecutors cited a 1973 state Supreme Court case that allowed a judge to review secret evidence in setting the bail of a suspected mobster charged with murder.

Superior Court Judge Marilyn C. Clark ordered the bail increase after an additional racketeering charge _ which stems from allegations that el-Atriss was running an organized criminal enterprise _ was filed during the secret hearing.

The bail hearing was held minutes after the closed session and was open to the defendant and the public.

Appellate Court Judge Howard Kestin has scheduled a hearing Monday on the emergency appeal request. Transcripts from the secret hearing will be sent to Kestin, but he will review them in private.

``We have argued that the bail is unconscionably high and it does not fit the alleged crimes,″ Miles Feinstein, El-Atriss’ new lawyer, told The Record of Bergen County for Friday’s editions.

Steven Brizek, the county’s senior assistant prosecutor, declined comment, saying his office had not received a copy of the motion.

El-Atriss faces several charges, including conspiracy and manufacturing and distributing phony documents. He was in Egypt when his home and offices were raided July 31. His bail was set at $250,000 after he voluntarily returned to the United States in August.

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