Judge denies release pending trial of former St. Kate's student held on terrorism charges

The sun shines on Saint Mary Hall.
The sun shines on Saint Mary Hall, a dormitory on the St. Catherine University campus in St. Paul, Minn. on Tuesday, April 17, 2018. The schematics of the Couer de Catherine and Saint Mary hall were allegedly saved on Tnuza Jamal Hassan's phone before she allegedly set several fires on the campus on January 17, 2018.
Evan Frost | MPR News

A federal judge has ordered a former St. Catherine University student to remain jailed while she faces terrorism charges.

Tnuza Hassan
Tnuza Hassan allegedly started several fires on St. Kate's campus in January.
Courtesy of Sherburne County Jail

20-year-old Tnuza Hassan allegedly started several fires on campus in January. Prosecutors say she tried to join al-Qaida and lied to the FBI when agents questioned her.

No one was injured in the fires, but authorities say one, in St. Mary Hall, endangered 33 children in an early childhood center there.

Hassan has been jailed since her arrest, and her attorneys asked Judge Steven Rau to release her under GPS monitoring while the case moves forward.

In February, Rau denied a similar request, but indicated he could change his mind after receiving further information.

Hassan's family had offered to monitor her if the court ordered her to wear a GPS device. But during a hearing Tuesday, Rau again rejected the request, saying the family's "good intentions do not satisfy me that the community would be safe."

Rau cited evidence federal prosecutors presented last week. In an April 11 memo, the government said an FBI search of Hassan's phone turned up "many files of concern, including several editions of terrorist propaganda."

Investigators also say they found blueprints of two St. Catherine University campus buildings as well as a document that appears to list some of the components of a pressure cooker bomb.

Hassan's defense attorneys are asking Rau to exclude evidence obtained during the search, arguing it was overly broad.

A federal grand jury indicted Hassan in February on charges of arson, lying to investigators, and providing material support to a terrorist organization.

Rau scheduled her trial to begin July 23.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.