DETROIT -- Once trumpeted as one of the Justice Department's significant triumphs against terrorism, the case targeting the so-called "Detroit sleeper cell" began less than a week after the attack on the World Trade Center. It was only after a jury convicted two men of supporting terrorism that the flimsiness of the government's case became clear.
As hidden evidence spilled out and the Justice Department abandoned the effort, federal investigators began to wonder whether the true conspiracy in the case was perpetrated by the prosecution.
Now a federal grand jury in Detroit is investigating whether the lead prosecutor, Richard Convertino, or anyone else should be indicted for unfairly tipping the scales.
It is a highly unusual case. No charges have been brought and many details remain secret, but information in public documents and testimony in U.S. District Court in Detroit suggest an effort by federal prosecutors and important witnesses to mislead defense lawyers and deceive the jury. U.S. District Judge Gerald E. Rosen said the government acted "outside the Constitution."