Mistrial in Muslim air force guard case

GREENBELT, Md. — A federal judge declared a mistrial Monday in the case of a former Andrews Air Force Base security guard accused of failing to include his Muslim name on a background check to hide his ties to an outspoken Washington imam and mosque. U.S. District Judge Deborah Chasanow made the ruling after jurors failed to reach a verdict for Darrick Michael Jackson after two days of deliberations. Jackson, 37, of Washington, was charged with making a false statement for not listing “Abdul-Jalil Mohammed” as an alias on the federal form he was required to fill out in 2005. He could have been sentenced to five years in prison if convicted.

Jackson’s defense was that he did not know he had to include his religious name for the background check he needed to work at the suburban Washington base, which is home to Air Force One. His attorney accused the government of going after the security guard for religious and political reasons. Jackson reacted to the judge’s decision by thanking God. “I didn’t do anything on purpose,” he said. “I don’t think I should be here.”

Associated Press, 4 December 2007