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Friends, family support Twitter employee charged in spy case

FILE - In this July 9, 2019, file photo a pedestrian walks across the street from the Twitter office building in San Francisco. A complaint unsealed in a federal court detailed a coordinated effort by Saudi officials to recruit employees at the social media giant who could tap into the Twitter accounts of political opponents and access their personal data, including internet protocol addresses that can give up a user's location. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

SEATTLE — Family and friends of a former Twitter employee accused of spying for Saudi Arabia say he is a dedicated husband and father who has overcome recent mental health struggles.

Authorities say Ahmad Abouammo acted as an agent of Saudi Arabia without registering with the U.S. government. Prosecutors say he and another man were rewarded by Saudi royal officials with a designer watch and tens of thousands of dollars funneled into secret bank accounts.

Abouammo is due in Seattle federal court Friday for a detention hearing. Two other suspects are believed to be in Saudi Arabia.

Relatives and friends of Abouammo say in letters of support filed to the court that he was always willing to help others, even after he moved to the United States.

The Associated Press