Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Not Good

Sami al Arian, a professor from South Florida who faced 17 charges relating to terrorism and funding terrorist operations, was found not guilty on 8 charges, while the jury deadlocked over the remaining charges. The jury had been deliberating for about three weeks.
Two of the three co-defendants in the terrorism conspiracy case were acquitted of all charges against them.

The two co-defendants acquitted are Sameeh Hammoudeh and Ghassan Zayed Ballut.

The third, Hatem Naji Fariz, was found innocent of 24 counts and jurors deadlocked on the remaining eight.

The jury deadlocked on the others including charges he aided terrorists.

Al-Arian will go back to jail until prosecutors decide whether to retry him on the deadlocked counts.

Here are the charges:
Not Guilty
Conspiracy to commit racketeering
Conspiracy to murder and maim people abroad
2 counts of conspiracy to support a foreign terrorist organization
2 counts of mail fraud
2 counts of obstruction of justice

All other counts - no decision
It will be interesting to see how the Justice Department spins this decision, and whether they intend to retry al Arian on the deadlocked counts. It also shows some of the limitations on trying to defend against terrorism through the criminal justice system, although it does show that the government can provide a fair trial to those before it. We have to live by the outcome, which in this case is not favorable to those who think that al Arian is a threat to national security through his acts and deeds.

Debbie Schlussel had predicted that al Arian would walk. She thinks that the prosecutors bordered on Darden/Clark incompetence, and it appears that she has a point. The fact that so many of the counts resulted in a deadlocked suggests that the evidence could have been presented in such a manner to derive a conviction. I think a different team of lawyers might be more successful in winning convictions against al Arian and his cohorts.

Also covering the al Arian story: Sister Toldjah and Michelle Malkin.

No comments: