NEW YORK (AP) - A Pakistani man can use statements from al-Qaida prisoners to defend himself against charges alleging he agreed to help terrorists sneak into the United States, but he won`t be allowed to call Khalid Sheik Mohammed or two other al-Qaida operatives as witnesses, a judge ruled Monday.
Uzair Paracha`s lawyer said it would be the first time al-Qaida prisoners` statements would be used before a jury since the 2001 terrorist attacks.
``The statements completely contradict the government`s theory of the case,`` said the attorney, Anthony Ricco.
Opening statements in Paracha`s trial are expected as early as Wednesday.
U.S. District Judge Sidney H. Stein ruled Monday that testimony from Mohammed, al-Qaida`s No. 3 leader before his capture, was not relevant to the case. He also sided with the government`s argument that allowing al-Qaida operatives Majid Khan and Ammar Al-Baluchi to testify would raise significant national security issues.
The judge also refused to permit the testimony of Paracha`s father, Saifullah Paracha, a businessman held at Guantanamo Bay.
Uzair Paracha, 24, is accused of meeting with Mohammed and another al-Qaida member in Pakistan before entering the United States in early 2003.
He was arrested in March 2003 as a material witness in the government`s Sept. 11 probe and was later charged with conspiring to support al-Qaida, conspiring to violate laws barring economic support for al-Qaida and committing identification document fraud in aid of terrorism.
Prosecutors have claimed Paracha made statements that his father met with Osama bin Laden before Sept. 11, 2001. They said he also admitted he believed that Khan was an al-Qaida operative and that by helping Khan he was assisting al-Qaida.
In their statements, Khan and Al-Baluchi said Paracha was unaware that they had al-Qaida connections, according to court records.