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Terror suspect appears in Tx. federal court

Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, college student from Saudi Arabia studying chemical engineering in Texas, has been charged with plotting a terrorist attack.

February 25, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A 20-year-old terror suspect from Saudi Arabia, accused of planning to blow up dams, nuclear plants or the Dallas home of former President George W. Bush, made his first court appearance in Texas on Friday.

Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari arrived at a federal courthouse in Lubbock this morning. He's charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. His lawyer says he will plead not guilty.

Hobson declined to comment as he left the courtroom, but in a statement, he said the "eyes of the world are on this case" and how Aldawsari is treated.

"This is not 'Alice in Wonderland,' where the Queen said 'First the punishment then the trial,"' Hobson's statement reads. "This is America, where everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence, due process, effective representation of counsel and a fair trial."

Judge Nancy Koenig asked Aldawsari, who was handcuffed and with his feet shackled, if he understood the charges against him, and ordered him to remain in custody until a March 11 detention hearing.

Prosecutors allege Aldawsari had been researching online how to construct an explosive device using several chemicals as ingredients. He was allegedly planning to those put bombs inside dolls and baby carriages.

In his journal, the student who studied chemical engineering in Texas described a plan to travel to New York City, place bombs in several rental cars for remote detonation and leave the vehicles in different places during rush hour, according to court documents.

The FBI said Aldawsari was in the U.S. legally on a student visa.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.