TORONTO – A man accused of plotting to attack a train between the U.S. and Canada waived his right to cross-examine a key witness Friday.
Chiheb Esseghaier, who has refused to recognize the jurisdiction of the court, sat motionless when the judge asked him if he had any questions for the undercover FBI agent.
The agent has spent the past two weeks testifying about his relationship with Esseghaier and co-accused, Raed Jaser, who face terror-related charges.
Court has heard extensive evidence of how the agent befriended Esseghaier and also about the alleged plot to attack the passenger train between New York and Toronto.
The trial has also heard hours of secret audio recordings of conversations the men had with the agent, who gained their trust while posing as a wealthy American businessman with radical views.
“I am going to lose my mind in happiness,” Esseghaier says of the developing relationship in one intercepted conversation with the agent.
Esseghaier also sought romance advice from the agent related to potentially marrying a young woman at work.
At another point, Esseghaier explains his commitment to strict Islam, saying he wants to see Sharia law imposed everywhere.
“I am making my obligation of jihad,” he tells the agent. “I believe in it, but not just by words, but also by action.”
Wrapping up his examination in chief, the agent described Esseghaier, who was a doctoral student in Montreal, as struggling financially — someone with a small research stipend, a few shirts and a jacket, and no car.
“He was the exact opposite of well off. He wasn’t financially secure by any means,” the agent testified.
“I care strongly for your money, because you are a Muslim,” Esseghaier says in one conversation with the agent in September 2012.
Esseghaier and Jaser, of Markham, Ont., who worked as a dispatcher, were arrested in April 2013.