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Attorney may use mental health defense for alleged Flint airport attacker

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

A defense lawyer wants a mental health evaluation for the man accused of carrying out a terrorist attack at Flint’s airport last year.

Amor Ftouhi is charged with slashing a Flint Bishop Airport police officer in the neck with a knife in June, 2017. Lt. Jeff Neville survived the attack.

Ftouhi allegedly travelled from his home in Montreal to Flint, where the attack occurred. Originally from Tunisia, Ftouhi is a dual Canadian-Tunisian citizen.  Among other things, Ftouhi is charged with ‘committing an act of terrorismtranscending national boundaries.' If convicted,Ftouhi could be sentenced to life in prison. 

Ftouhi’s trial is scheduled in November, with 100 prospective jurors scheduled to fill out questionnaires next month.

But defense attorney Joan Morgan says she wants Ftouhi checked for “diminished capacity and competency.” Morgan says she is considering a mental health defense. That could delay the trial.

Ftouhi was not in court Tuesday. He waived his right to appear. 

U.S. District Judge Linda Parker plans to discuss the potential effect of the review of Ftouhi’s mental health status on the case’s timetable October 12th

The judge previously denied a defense request for a change of venue for the case. The defense is concerned publicity surrounding the case would make it difficult to seat an unbias jury from a pool of potential jurors from the multi-county area around the city of Flint. The judge disagreed. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.