DALLAS (AP) - A federal judge is declining to dismiss an
indictment against the former leaders of a Muslim charity accused
of financing terrorism.
Defense attorneys had argued that materials left by prosecutors
in the jury room during deliberations in the trial of Holy Land
Foundation for Relief and Development created a rift among jurors
that unfairly forced last fall's mistrial after 19 days of
Prosecutors countered that the materials, most of which were
shown to jurors during the two-month trial as learning aids to
navigate the hundreds of pieces of admitted evidence, were placed
in the jury room by mistake.
The federal judge yesterday backed the government's argument
that those materials didn't cause the mistrial. A retrial is
scheduled for Sept. 8.
The 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.
The Dallas Morning News reports that attorneys for both sides
have declined to comment on the judge's ruling, citing a
long-standing gag order.
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.)