The San Diego trial of four Somali immigrants charged with raising money and providing help to the terrorist group al-Shabaab largely boils down to who jurors believe is on the other end of numerous phone calls the government secretly taped five years ago.
The three-week trial before U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Miller wrapped up Tuesday with daylong closing arguments by both sides. The case centers on a series of phone calls made by the four men and a handful of money transfers made from San Diego to war-torn Somalia that total about $8,500.
Federal prosecutors said the money was sent to help al-Shabaab, a group the U.S. designated as a terrorist organization in early 2008, saying it is responsible for bombings, assassinations, attacks on peacekeeping troops and thwarting attempts to establish a stable government in Somalia.
If found guilty of providing material support to a terrorist organization, the men face sentences of 15 years to life in prison.
The defendants are Basaaly Moalin, a cabdriver who prosecutors said was the main point of contact between the fundraising in San Diego and the al-Shabaab fighters; Mohamed Mohamed Mohamud, the imam of a City Heights mosque; Issa Doreh, a worker at the money transfer business the defendants used; and Ahmed Nasir Taalil Mohamud, a cabdriver from Anaheim.