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Grand jury declines to indict imam accused of trying to smuggle scissors, blades into NYC jail

A grand jury has declined to indict a Muslim chaplain accused of trying to smuggle razor blades and scissors into a New York City jail.

The grand jury’s move on Tuesday doesn’t end the case against Imam Zul-Qarnain Abdu-Shahid. But it did force his release from jail without bail under a state law limiting how long felony defendants can be held without being indicted. He’s due back in court April 27.

It’s unclear whether prosecutors will try again for an indictment.

Defense lawyer James McQueeney says Abdu-Shahid didn’t realize the items were in his bag when he arrived for work last week at the Manhattan Detention Complex.

Abdu-Shahid has pleaded not guilty to charges including promoting prison contraband. 


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