Federal prosecutors won't be able to use violent videos found on the home computer of an Egyptian college student as evidence in his trial on explosives charges in Florida, an appeals court ruled Wednesday.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Tampa district judge's ruling in the case of Youssef Samir Megahed, a former University of South Florida student charged with possession of a destructive device.
Megahed, 22, and a companion were arrested in South Carolina in August 2007 after deputies said they found explosives in the trunk of their car during a traffic stop. Defense attorneys have characterized the items as homemade fireworks.
Prosecutors had appealed the judge's decision to throw out the videos found on a computer at Megahed's home, saying they were essential to the case. They showed Qassam rockets, the type of rockets used by Hamas militants against Israel, and the use of improvised explosive devices and attacks against military forces in the Middle East.
"We're obviously pleased with the 11th Circuit ruling, and we hope to get this thing to trial finally," said Megahed's attorney, Adam Allen.
U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Steve Cole declined to comment.
Megahed's companion, Ahmed Mohamed, 27, pleaded guilty last year to aiding terrorists by making a YouTube video demonstrating how to make a remote detonator for a bomb. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
The video was found on his laptop computer that was in the car when the men were stopped for speeding near Charleston, S.C.
Megahed is not charged in connection with that video.