Boise man charged with terrorism gets new lawyer

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - An Uzbek refugee accused of terrorism-related crimes in Idaho and Utah has a new lawyer whose resume includes successfully defending a man accused of murdering a federal agent and helping free a Saudi college student charged with working for a group funneling money to terrorists.

A federal judge appointed Charles Peterson to take over Fazliddin Kurbanov's defense.

Kurbanov, 30, of Boise, has pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in Boise to charges including that he helped teach people to build bombs to target public transportation.

Peterson, who didn't immediately return a phone call seeking comment Tuesday, has experience in some of Idaho's highest profile cases.

He was part of the defense team that helped win Randy Weaver's acquittal on charges that he murdered a deputy U.S. marshal on northern Idaho's Ruby Ridge in August 1992. Weaver's family later won a $3.1 million payment from the federal government, also with Peterson's help.

And Peterson in 2004 helped defend Sami Al-Hussayen, a Saudi Arabian student at the University of Idaho who was acquitted in U.S. District Court of using his computer skills to support terrorism in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Al-Hussayen was acquitted of most charges before being sent back to Saudi Arabia.

More recently, Peterson helped Republican state Sen. Monty Pearce of New Plymouth in 2012 beat back a complaint brought by Democrats that he'd violated the Senate's ethics rules by not disclosing natural gas leases on his western Idaho property before voting on rules governing the energy industry.

Peterson was appointed by U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge to replace Richard Rubin, Kurbanov's previous attorney.

Rubin's office, Federal Defenders Services of Idaho, handles about 75 percent of cases involving federal defendants who can't afford their own attorneys.

But he received Lodge's permission to withdraw last Thursday after citing federal budget cuts this year, known as sequestration, that have left Rubin's staff attorneys with insufficient resources to continue Kurbanov's case while still handling their existing defense cases.

Kurbanov, a Russian- and Uzbek-speaking truck driver who arrived in Idaho in 2009 amid political unrest in his central Asian home country, was arrested May 17 at his apartment in Boise.

In Idaho, he's charged with providing material support and resources, including computer software and money, to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, a group designated by the U.S. government as a foreign terrorist organization. Prosecutors say he had materials to build a bomb.

In Utah, he's charged with teaching others how to make a weapon of mass destruction. The lessons included how-to shopping trips in preparation for bombing a public transportation facility, authorities have said.