MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A trial begins Monday for a Minnesota man accused of helping finance fighters for al-Shabab in Somalia.

Mahamud Said Omar is charged with five terror-related counts in the government's long investigation into at least 21 young men believed to have left Minnesota in recent years to join the terror group in Somalia.

Omar's attorneys say he is innocent. His brothers say the 46-year-old is sick, easily influenced, and doesn't have the brains to be a terrorist or the money to help pay for weapons.

Minnesota's large Somali community will keep an eye on the trial.

Eighteen men have been charged in the case, but Omar is the first to go to trial, which could give the public its deepest look yet into how people were recruited to go to Somalia.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.