NEW YORK (AP) -- It seemed, at least to prosecutors, highly suspicious. A radio used to communicate with pilots was found on top of a copy of the Quran in the room of an Egyptian student that overlooked the World Trade Center on Sept. 11.
But days after the loudly trumpeted charges of making false statements were brought against Abdallah Higazy, 30, another hotel guest emerged to say the radio was his -- and the charges were dropped.
Higazy, the son of an Egyptian diplomat, was released late Wednesday after a month in detention. Shouting "nothing tops freedom," he forgave the FBI on Thursday.
"To be absolutely honest, I don't blame the FBI for thinking it was mine," Higazy said. He offered to take two agents who interrogated him to dinner so everyone could "bury the hatchet."
Defense lawyers say the case -- one of the few prosecutors have sought to highlight for the public -- demonstrates the danger in rushing to judgment.
Prosecutors appear to have quickly released Higazy when new evidence came along. But they continue to pursue evidence of petty crimes and visa violations when they are unearthed against others when no link to terrorism is found.
Higazy's lawyer, Robert Dunn, said he wants to know how investigators came to believe that the handheld radio was found in a safe in Higazy's room at the Millennium Hilton Hotel when it actually belonged to someone staying one floor below his client.
Marvin Smilon, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney, said prosecutors were still investigating the circumstances surrounding the discovery of the radio.
Dunn urged the government to review its tactics in its Sept. 11 investigation and suggested members of the public refrain from jumping to conclusions.
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