Use of videos in trial denied

Egyptian student Youssef Megahed was arrested in Goose Creek in 2007 after a traffic stop on St. James Avenue.

ATLANTA — Federal prosecutors won't be able to use violent videos found on the home computer of an Egyptian college student arrested last year in the Lowcountry on explosives charges as evidence in his trial, an appeals court ruled Wednesday.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Tampa, Fla., district judge's ruling in the case of Youssef Megahed, a former University of South Florida student charged with possession of a destructive device.

Megahed, 22, and a companion were arrested in Goose Creek 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 Florida home, saying they were essential to the case. They showed rockets 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," said Megahed's attorney, Adam Allen.

U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Steve Cole declined 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 on St. James Avenue.