Prosecutor files motion to block moving Maad trial out of state

Posted: Friday, January 11, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A federal prosecutor says publicity surrounding damage to an Anchorage businessman's printing shop is not enough to warrant moving his bank fraud trial out of the state.

Assistant U.S. attorney Dan Cooper filed a motion Thursday opposing the federal defender's request to move the trial, arguing that there is not enough publicity to prejudice the juror pool.

Nezar ''Mike'' Maad, former owner of Frontier Printing Services, was charged in December with two counts of falsifying loan applications, one count of wire fraud and two counts of making false statements to the government.

The alleged fraud was uncovered during an investigation into what was first thought to be a hate crime at Maad's print shop. The vandalism spree occurred after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. In addition to damage done to equipment, the words ''We hate Arabs'' was written on a wall of the shop. Maad is Arab-American. Prosecutors now say Maad is suspected of causing the damage at the shop.

In his filing, Cooper said a poll conducted by Maad's attorney to learn what Anchorage voters have heard about Maad and his print shop was untrustworthy and manipulative. Regardless, he said, 56 percent of the 308 people polled thought Maad could receive a fair trial in Anchorage.

Federal defender Rich Curtner asked Chief U.S. District Judge James Singleton Jr. on Jan. 4 to move the trial out of Alaska because of statewide publicity surrounding the case.

Cooper added that while a defendant is entitled to an impartial jury, he is not entitled to a jury ''completely ignorant of the facts.''

A hearing date has not been set.

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