DALLAS (AP) - Lawyers for the former leaders of a Muslim charity
accused of financing terrorism want a judge to declare a mistrial
in their case.
Defense attorneys for the five former leaders of Holy Land
Foundation for Relief and Development say prosecutors left
nonevidentiary materials from the previous trial in the jury room
during deliberations. That's according to court papers obtained by
The Dallas Morning News.
They believe the materials created a rift among jurors that
unfairly forced last fall's mistrial after 19 days of
deliberations, according to court papers. The materials were a
mixture of government case overviews and unadmitted wiretaps and
Most of the materials were seen by jurors during two months of
testimony. But they were told to consider them only as aids and not
as established fact.
Prosecutors say their staff inadvertently put exhibits and some
unadmitted materials in the jury room. But the government argues
those materials didn't cause the mistrial and that such a mistake
doesn't warrant a mistrial. They said in a response motion to U.S.
District Judge Jorge Solis that it was grounds for a retrial, which
is scheduled for September.
A mistrial was declared in October after a chaotic scene in
which jurors disputed the verdict in open court even though the
forewoman said no one objected during final deliberations.
Holy Land defendants are accused of funneling millions to the
Palestinian militant group Hamas, which has carried out suicide
bombings in Israel. The U.S. government designated Hamas a
terrorist group in 1995, making financial transactions with it
Lawyers for Holy Land said the Texas-based group was a
legitimate charity that helped Muslim children and families left
homeless or poor by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)