Hearing set for man charged in murder-terrorism case

A Washington state man accused of terrorism for allegedly killing a New Jersey college student last year over the United States’ policy in the Middle East is set to make a court appearance.

Ali Muhammad Brown has a status hearing scheduled Wednesday.

The charges against the 30-year-old Brown include the first-ever terrorism counts filed under New Jersey’s law.

Brown also faces murder counts in Washington stemming from the June deaths of two men killed in Seattle after they left a gay nightclub.

Brown, who has refused to leave his jail cell, was convicted of robbery in an unrelated case in New Jersey last year. His sentencing in that case also is scheduled for Wednesday in Essex County.

New Jersey’s first terrorism case offers a rare view of local prosecutors navigating a legal area that’s been almost exclusively in the realm of the federal courts. And some legal experts maintain that’s where all terrorism cases belong.

New Jersey was among several states that passed terrorism statutes following the Sept. 11 attacks, though those laws have rarely been used. Some of the charges, such as ones filed against gang members in New York, have failed to survive the courts.

More recently, though, New York state successfully prosecuted two cases under its terrorism law against men who had planned bomb attacks.

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