Reaction to Hamid Hayat's 24 year sentence on terror charges was mixed in Lodi on Monday.
Some of the Muslim men leaving the Lodi mosque after evening prayer did not want to talk about the trial, fearing that their names would be connected to what they believe is an ongoing FBI investigation.
"If I say anything, they can come and take me away," said one man who did not want to be named. "We don't know anything about it. We want to leave it peaceful."
U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott said Monday that the terror investigation in Lodi is no longer active.
Mosque President Mohammed Shoaib, hearing about the sentence for the first time Monday evening, said 24 years seemed harsh.
"I don't think he was doing something," he said. "He was caught in the talking and not in the acting."
Hayat, 25, was convicted in April 2006 of lying to the FBI and providing material support to terrorists.
Taj Khan, a prominent figure in Lodi's Muslim community, maintained Hayat's innocence.
"It's absolutely ridiculous," he said. "The boy is innocent. Twenty-four years for not doing anything wrong is totally against the justice system. This is a great injustice."
Khan said Hayat was arrested and tried without doing anything illegal.
"He might have been having the wrong thoughts or reading the wrong materials," he said. "For that he was given 24 years. That's absolutely asinine."
John Beckman, who was mayor of Lodi during the trial, questioned the fairness of the trial. In April, Hayat's lawyers tried to get a new trial because a juror said the foreman was racially biased.
"If an unbiased jury found him guilty, I think 24 years is a fitting sentence," he said. "The fact there was no corroborating evidence seems odd to me."
Beckman, who is now the economic development director in Lathrop, said he hopes Lodi can move past the media attention the trial has brought the city.
"I hope this is not something Lodi is forever remembered by," he said. "Let's hope it is a small, non-repeating chapter in Lodi's history."