TAMPA, Fla. - The legal team for the father of Ibragim Todashev, believed to have been shot and killed by an FBI agent in Orlando on May 22, is expected to get a legal boost with the addition of a "high-profile" Tampa defense attorney, Council on American Islamic Relations Florida Director Hissan Shibly told ABC Action News on Monday night.
The announcement will coincide with a previously planned press conference scheduled last week following Abdulbaki Todashev's arrival in Tampa, following the burial of his son in Russia.
Todashev was killed while being questioned by FBI agents and police from Massachusetts and Florida. Officials originally said Todashev lunged at an FBI agent with a knife. They have since said said it was not clear what happened.
Todashev plans to speak on the latest developments in the case at an 11 a.m. news conference at the CAIR-FL office in north Tampa.
Shibly said that he, Todashev and the undisclosed new legal counsel will also announce new details from CAIR-FL's independent review of the case. CAIR-FL has been retained as legal counsel for the Todashevs since their son's death.
The organization has been vocal in pressuring the FBI and U.S. government to release more information in his death.
"I'm sure when the government knows who (the new co-council) is on this case, it will draw their attention," Shibly said.
He added that Todashev declined to speak Monday night following all-day meetings with the new legal counsel ahead of the news conference.
CAIR-FL will also highlight the revelation that State Attorney Jeff Ashton has received details of the case and opened a review to investigate if there was any criminal activity involved in the shooting of Todashev.
Ashton announced Thursday that he will review what led to the fatal shooting of the Chechen immigrant during questioning by the FBI over the man's ties to the elder Boston Marathon bombing suspect, The Associated Press reported.
Ashton says there is no schedule for when he will complete his review.
A spokesman for the FBI's Tampa office referred all questions to the agency's Washington office. A spokesman for the Washington office didn't respond to an Associated Press email inquiry.
Shibly said they believe Ashton is taking the case "very seriously" and Shibly has become more understanding of the delay in releasing Todashev's report knowing there is a review underway by the Department of Justice and Ashton's office.
CAIR-FL will claim Todashev may have been shot while he was on the ground, based on the opinion of a 20-year south Florida homicide detective hired to review the current known evidence.
"Potentially, he might have been shot while he was on the ground, and potentially, one of the bullets might have been in the back of the head. Can we confirm that? No, we can't. That's why we're waiting" for the report.
The independent investigation has led the legal team to believe, based on evidence they've seen, that Todashev was shot 7 times after four to five hours of interrogation.
The Associated Press reported the senior Todashev showed journalists 16 photographs that he said were of his son in a Florida morgue at a May news conference in Moscow, Russia.
"We have the pictures. We've seen the many bullet holes riddled into this individual's body. We are looking for access to those documents as soon as possible."
The official inquiry has prevented the release of Todashev's autopsy report. An official at the medical examiner's office has told ABC Action News that his report is being withheld at the request of the U.S. government.
Shibly said despite Todashev's stated opinion that his son was killed "execution-style," Todashev believes in the US legal system, and if there was any wrongdoing by federal agents, they will be prosecuted to the "fullest extent of the law."
On Tuesday, they will be calling for meetings with the US Attorney and the State Attorney "to be assured we do not tolerate any wrongdoing" by law enforcement.
Despite reports, Shibly reiterated that Todashev and his legal team have made no decision on legal action against the federal government, but are considering legal options as the case unfolds.
"His father basically just came from Russia to ask why was my son killed and to seek justice for his son," Shibly said, "and make sure this never happens to anyone (again), because it's never good when an unarmed individual is shot multiple times by FBI agents in his own home after hours of questioning."
Shibly said he believed no matter what happened in the home that led to the shooting, the onus for allowing the tension to develop was on the FBI.
"When they're questioning somebody for four or five hours in their home, to (should) make sure they're doing it in the safest possible way," Shibly said, "and if they're doing it in a way that somebody is able to get a weapon, well, I think they've done a poor job and they need to revise their policies and the agents possibly need to be reprimanded."
Shibly added that Todashev
nearly followed through with his planned flight back to Russia, before agreeing to one more meeting with the FBI.
"They told him, you know what, this is the last meeting. We're going to clear your name, and he thought it was the last meeting. Unfortunately it was the last meeting, but not in a way anyone could have imagined."
ABC Action News reporter Alex Hobson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.