Defense attorney Jeffrey M. Lindy argued that it was in the U.S. interest to transfer Khalid from the Federal Detention Center to a secure state juvenile facility in Loysville, Perry County, for intense psychotherapy before he is sentenced.
"He's almost certainly going to be deported," Lindy told U.S. District Judge Petrese B. Tucker. "Without treatment, he goes back to Pakistan and the same young man is now going to be in Pakistan, where we know what happens with the radical Islam movement."
Khalid's severe depression, isolation from U.S. society, and emotional immaturity made him vulnerable to the Internet overtures of alleged jihadists, Lindy argued.
Tucker said she would rule on the defense motion after she consults with federal probation and prison officials.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer A. Williams said the government opposes the defense proposal, principally because of cost. Williams said she had no objection to Khalid's family paying for counseling professionals to visit him in the detention center.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons does not have a facility to treat juvenile defendants and Williams said prison officials "don't want to open that door" to paying for treatment elsewhere. Lindy, however, said Khalid's family — not present in court — cannot afford private psychological care for their son.
The Pakistani-born Khalid was arrested as a juvenile last July and in October, after he turned 18, was charged by a federal grand jury in Philadelphia
Last month, Khalid pleaded guilty to conspiring to recruit jihadists and raising money for terrorists overseas, working online from the tiny Howard County, Md., apartment he shared with his parents and three siblings.
Sentencing has not been set, although Khalid reportedly faces a 15-year no-parole prison term.
Lindy said Khalid was angry at his parents because they moved three times: from their native Pakistan to the United Arab Emirates and then, after 11 years, to the United States. Khalid felt like an outsider in U.S. society, Lindy said, and had no friends his age.
Lindy said Khalid found solace from "an enormous number of hours spent on the Internet," chatting with adults who praised his intelligence and his growing interest in radical Islam, and urged him to help launch jihad in Europe.
Khalid tall and rail-thin, was dressed in an olive-green prison jump suit. He smiled slightly as he met his lawyers but did not speak during the 30-minute hearing.
Khalid had been accepted last fall at Johns Hopkins University on a full scholarship. That future ended when he was charged.
The same federal grand jury also indicted Ali Charaf Damache, 46, an Algerian being held by Irish authorities pending extradition to the United States. Damache allegedly used the e-mail alias "theblackflag" with other jihadists, and the indictment portrays him as their leader.
Khalid and Damache are charged with providing material support to Colleen R. LaRose, the former Montgomery County woman known as Jihad Jane. She pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to kill a Swedish cartoonist who depicted Mohammed, a blasphemy in Islam.
Also charged in the case was a Leadville, Colo., woman, Jamie Paulin Ramirez, who traveled to Ireland in 2009 and married Damache, whom she did not know, as part of the conspiracy.
Ramirez also pleaded guilty last month. Williams said no sentencing dates have been set for LaRose, Ramirez, or Khalid.
Contact Joseph A. Slobodzian at 215-854-2985, email@example.com, or @joeslobo on Twitter.