Feds can't say 'our soldiers' in Mass. terror case

By DENISE LAVOIE | October 13, 2011 | 1:45 PM EDT

BOSTON (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that prosecutors in the case of a Massachusetts man accused of plotting to kill American troops in Iraq can't refer to them as "our soldiers" during his trial.

The judge also ruled that supporters of Tarek Mehanna (TEH'-rek meh-HAH'-nah) cannot wear their customary yellow scarves or "Free Tarek" T-shirts once the trial begins.

The rulings Thursday came as prosecutors and Mehanna's attorneys argued motions before Mehanna's trial begins Oct. 24.

Defense lawyers argued that allowing the government to refer to U.S. troops as "our soldiers" could create a bond between the jury and prosecutors. Judge George O'Toole Jr. said the troops should be referred to as "United States soldiers" or "American soldiers."

O'Toole granted a request by prosecutors to instruct Mehanna's supporters to refrain from wearing obvious symbols of support in front of the jury.