NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A man whose number was found in the pocket of one of the perpetrators of last week’s fatal attack on a Jewish market in New Jersey was denied bail on an unrelated weapons charge Monday, as his attorney termed attempts to connect him to the attacks “ridiculous.”
Ahmed A-Hady appeared in U.S. District Court shackled and wearing a t-shirt and jeans. His parents, brother and fiancee were in court, according to his attorney, K. Anthony Thomas. They declined comment afterward.
The judge gave A-Hady a chance to supplement his request for bail at a hearing Tuesday afternoon.
Federal agents last week searched A-Hady’s home and a pawnshop in Keyport, New Jersey, operated by his father. Those searches turned up weapons including three AR-15-style assault rifles, three handguns and one shotgun as well as more than 400 rounds of ammunition.
On Monday, agents in FBI flak jackets were at a pawnshop in South Amboy that A-Hady’s father, Alaa Hady, told The Associated Press was his son’s.
The criminal complaint lists the defendant’s last name as A-Hady but he said in court the correct spelling is Hady. U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said the spelling was taken from an earlier criminal case against A-Hady.
A-Hady hasn’t been charged with providing any of the weapons used in the bloody rampage in Jersey City that left four people and the two attackers dead on Dec. 10. But he faces one charge of being a felon in possession of a weapon, which carries a potential maximum sentence of 10 years.
Thomas, who also didn’t comment to reporters, criticized the government during the hearing for using the Jersey City slayings to justify seeking to keep A-Hady detained.
“My client is a responsible businessman,” he said. “I am pretty sure you can go on the Internet and you will find his name and cellphone number. It’s public. So to add some nefarious reasons why my client’s phone number is in someone’s pocket is ridiculous.”
Carpenito didn’t say whether investigators had found any further connection between A-Hady and attacker David Anderson, or whether Anderson and accomplice Francine Graham had ever visited A-Hady’s pawn shop.
The ties to the shootings “are not being created by the government,” he said. “The defendant is connected to the incidents in Jersey City by David Anderson, in the carrying of a note with personal cell phone number and the address of his business in his back pocket.”
Anderson and Graham killed Jersey City Police Det. Joseph Seals in a cemetery before storming the JC Kosher Supermarket, killing three people inside before they were fatally shot in a standoff with police. The attack is being investigated as domestic terrorism.
Anderson and Graham are also prime suspects in the slaying of a livery driver found dead in a car trunk in nearby Bayonne the previous weekend, authorities have said.
Anderson and Graham were armed with multiple weapons including an AR-15-style rifle and a shotgun, and a pipe bomb was also found in the stolen U-Haul van they drove to the market. Two of the weapons used by Anderson and Graham were bought by Graham in Ohio last year, police have said. It’s not known where they got the three other guns.
Records indicated that A-Hady bought two handguns in 2007 before being convicted of a felony in 2012 that made him ineligible to own firearms. Authorities say he acknowledged still owning the handguns.
Frederick reported from Keyport, New Jersey, and South Amboy, New Jersey.