ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - Defense lawyers say a U.S. Army veteran was confused and mistaken when he told authorities he fought with an al-Qaida group seeking to topple the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
In March, federal prosecutors in Alexandria charged 30-year-old Eric Harroun of Phoenix with using a rocket propelled grenade as a soldier with Jabhat al-Nusra, which the U.S. State Department says is an alias for al-Qaida in Iraq.
But in court papers filed Wednesday, Harroun's lawyer says that while Harroun may have thought he had joined up with Jabhat al-Nusra, the facts demonstrate otherwise. The motion states Harroun spoke only a few words of Arabic and was not well-versed on the jumble of groups arrayed in the fight against Assad.
The motion seeks Harroun's release from jail while he awaits trial.