(Chicago) A federal judge on Tuesday ruled that a Schiller Park woman accused of financially aiding ISIS terrorists will require a U.S. Marshals Service escort to Missouri, where the case will be heard, and will not be freed to get there on her own., the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.
Before issuing his ruling, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Cole said extra weight is placed on the presumption of flight and danger to the community when considering the release of defendants charged in terrorism cases.
Medy Salkicevic, a naturalized U.S. citizen and mother of four who emigrated from Bosnia, wiped her eyes with her sleeves as Cole explained his ruling.
Cole had heard arguments at a hearing Monday but delayed his announcement until Tuesday, saying he wanted time to weigh his decision.
Salkicevic’s defense attorney, Andrea Gambino, had claimed her client would not flee because she was anchored to the community through her four daughters and husband, and wanted to clear her name in St. Louis—an argument that Cole said lacked evidence.
Gambino had noted that police had confiscated her client’s passport, further mitigating the chance she would flee. But Cole countered that Salkicevic could simply drive away, saying “this is an enormous, enormous country.”
Cole also noted that a house Salkicevic was building in Bosnia contributed to his decision. “It perhaps infers fairly an intent to return,” he said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Angel Krull argued Monday that Salkicevic, who works for Alliance Airlines, a company that handles airline cargo, had $7,000 in her checking account and was an avid traveler who in recent years had been to Germany, Serbia and Turkey. She said Salkicevic had the knowledge and resources to flee.
Cole ordered Salkicevic transported to St. Louis quickly, and that a court date for her case be set soon. He even left the door open for Salkicevic’s attorney to tweak her argument and bring it before him again if the case drags on and Salkicevic lingers in jail in Chicago, awaiting transportation to St. Louis.
“I am sorry for this,” Cole said, acknowledging how hard the confinement will be on Salkicevic’s family.
“If some judge down there wants to (release you), I would be thrilled,” Cole said, noting that his hands were tied by the law.
“I hope they let her out,” he said. “I just don’t feel I have the legal right to let her out.”
Salkicevic is accused of raising and wiring money used to arm and equip a fellow Bosnian fighting for ISIS in Syria. The crime of providing material support to ISIS terrorists carries a sentence of up to 30 years in prison.
The series of $1,000 PayPal payments she sent was used to buy surplus military gear, including a sniper rifle scope, combat boots and uniforms, federal prosecutors alleged in an indictment unsealed Friday night.
At a hearing on Monday, Krull said Salkicevic received an e-mail from a friend containing a picture of two sniper rifle scopes and, in an e-mailed reply, said she “hoped they reached them” and that they be “put to good use.”
Krull argued that Salkicevic, arrested Friday on her way to renew passports for two of her daughters, knew the money would be used to buy gear for ISIS and al-Qaida and was a danger to the community.
She chatted with five co-defendants about the plot on Facebook using code words, the feds say.
The co-defendants were charged alongside her in Missouri, where they allegedly bought the military equipment in surplus stores. No court date has been set in St. Louis.
In court Tuesday, Salkicevic, wearing a black hijab, orange prison garb and shackled at the feet, was less cheery than she’d been the previous day, when she looked at relatives in the gallery and motioned for them to keep their chins up—even giving them two thumbs up and mouthing the word “strong.”
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