Monday, October 22, 2007

Holy Land Foundation mistrial

The verdict, awaited over the weekend, turns out to be no verdict at all.

Justice Department prosecutors can get juries to convict businesspersons such as Martha Stewart and Conrad Black, and high government officials such as Lewis Libby, on the flimsiest evidence, of non-crimes. Prison sentences result. But given networks and documents and years of real evidence of subversion, they cannot get a conviction. At least they got a mistrial and will have another chance, hopefully with another prosecutor and another strategy. It's enough to make you wonder if the DOJ are really trying. Gee, Sandy Berger has not taken that lie detector test, and DOJ is not pressing him on it. Maybe they're not really trying. There are probably people at DOJ and CIA who started working there when Jimmy Carter was president. The entrenched bureaucracy has its own agenda. Compare to this book, and this one.

Dallas Morning News: Judge declares mistrial in Holy Land Foundation case.
Rod Dreher: Holy Land Foundation snafu.
LGF: Breaking: Mistrial Declared in HLF Hamas Trial - Update: Official Verdict Document Added, quickly followed by CAIR Gloating Over Mistrial.
NY Times: U.S. Prosecution of Muslim Group Ends in Mistrial

Update, Tuesday Oct 23: More from the talkative juror, William Neal, a 33-year-old art director in Dallas: Holy Land defendants' long wait ends as U.S. vows to retry case.
From the American Thinker: Bad News for Holy Land Defendants.
And from the Investigative Project on Terrorism: Second HLF Trial Could Bring Changes. This includes a link to a video interview with juror William Neal. It seems odd that he can't remember his own age: "I'd never been on a jury before, never, this is my first time in 30, what, 20 years since I'm 18, or whatever …" He makes good points about the way the case was presented. Too much evidence that was too technical for the jury to deal with; too many charges. 197 charges! An hour a charge is not too much time for debate and voting, but 197 hours is five 40-hour work weeks, or 25 days. Assuming no time is spent on deciding what's for lunch—and Neal says that some days were mostly spent discussing lunch—then the 19 days of deliberation were still inadequate for the case as presented.

Another update, Oct 29: Steven Emerson in the NY Post:

Prosecutors in the Northern District of Texas deserve praise for bringing this case in the first place. The trial record conclusively demonstrated that Holy Land and several of its unindicted co-conspirators - including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) - grew out of Hamas. Moreover, it showed that they spent the better part of 15 years deceiving government agencies and the media, hiding their true goals under a mask of work for charity and civil rights.

To be sure, the mistrial was portrayed as another in a series of setbacks for the government's anti-terror prosecution strategy. Notably, several jurors seemed to discount the testimony of an Israeli security expert, testifying under an assumed name, apparently on the belief that Israelis cannot be trusted on Palestinian matters.

Some jurors may even have bought the defense argument that anti-Israel terror isn't truly terrorism, but merely "resisting the occupation." One juror told the Dallas Morning News of his difficulty in describing Hamas as a terrorist group, stating, "Part of it does terrorist acts, but it's a political movement. It's an uprising."
This juror was of course William Neal, the only juror who has spoken to the press.

Here previously: Islamic fifth column.


newkid said...

well. in my, i was unprepared for what i was trying to say... i started off talking about my age, but i wanted to refer to when i was at the legal age to vote. silly me. that interview happened so fast... oh well. hopefully there won't be a next time. cheers.

Hector Owen said...

Welcome newkid. Are you actually William Neal?