The videotape of intelligence agents' final interrogation of al-Qaida suspect Jose Padilla is missing, raising questions about whether federal prosecutors have lost other tapes and evidence as the case finally nears trial.
Padilla's defense attorneys have said they believe there is something on the classified tape related to their contention that Padilla does not trust them and thinks they may be government agents themselves.
The tape of the March 2, 2004, interrogation at a Navy jail in Charleston, South Carolina, may contain "information that was conveyed to Mr. Padilla by agents of the government which directly impacts upon his relationship with his attorneys," attorney Anthony Natale alleges, according to federal court documents.
Padilla, a 36-year-old US citizen, is scheduled to stand trial April 16 along with two co-defendants on charges of being part of a North American terrorism support cell. When he was initially arrested in 2002, Padilla was accused of preparing an al-Qaida plot to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" in the United States, but the criminal case does not mention that.