Five of the federal jurors who acquitted Youssef Megahed of explosives charges are speaking out against U.S. immigration officials’ decision to arrest him just four days after the verdict.

“It may be ‘legal,’ but that doesn’t make it right,” foreman Gary Meringer said in a statement signed by him and three other jurors.

“It strikes us as fundamentally wrong that the Government has put Mr. Megahed back in jail for suspicion of the same activities that he was acquitted of in the criminal case.”

A fifth juror, John Calder, also expressed concern.

The St. Petersburg Times has been in contact with jurors since Megahed’s federal trial ended. Some jurors wanted privacy and declined to be interviewed.

But after immigration officials snatched Megahed from a Wal-Mart parking lot last week and announced that they would try to deport him, a few jurors reconsidered.

They were too angry to remain silent.

They elaborated this morning in an exclusive interview with the Times, first published on

“I was stunned,” said juror Sandra Cleland.

“I never felt the government had a substantial case,” said juror Stephen Short.

“It didn’t seem fair,” said foreman Meringer. “It didn’t seem right. I was embarrassed as a citizen for what the government had done.” (More)


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