Trial starts for US man accused of being Iraqi agent

DETROIT — A trial has started in Detroit for a former US military translator who is charged with feeding information years ago to the regime of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
Issam Hamama, a 60-year-old Iraqi native, is charged with conspiracy and making false statements. The government said documents seized after the fall of Saddam revealed that he was an agent and had informed Iraq about the activities of former Iraqis living in the United States in the 1990s.
Hamama lives in El Cajon, California, but used to live near Detroit. He was a US military translator in Iraq when he was arrested in 2008.
Prosecutors gave their opening statement Tuesday. In response Wednesday, defense attorney Haytham Faraj said Hamama believed he was giving benign information to Iraqi diplomats, not secret agents.
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