Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Holy Land Foundation defendants guilty on all counts

From The Dallas Morning News, Monday, November 24, 2008, By JASON TRAHAN and TANYA EISERER:

A jury on Monday determined that the Holy Land Foundation and five men who worked with the Muslim charity were guilty of three dozen counts related to the illegal funneling of at least $12 million to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.

The unanimous verdicts are a complete victory for the government, which streamlined its case after a mistrial last year, and worked hard to carefully educate jurors on the complex, massive evidence presented in the trial.

Guilty verdicts were read on 108 separate charges.

..."...a loud and clear message has been sent – if any group funnels money to a terrorist organization, the government will hunt you down and turn off the money spigot," said Robert Hirschhorn, a nationally known jury consultant based in Lewisville. His partner, Dallas attorney Lisa Blue, was hired by the government to help pick the jury.

It was the second trial where the government attempted to convict the men and the now defunct Richardson-based Holy Land Foundation itself. It took the jury eight days of deliberations to reach its decisions – less than half the time it took jurors to end up with an almost complete mistrial last year on the first go-around.

...."The issue is not whether they made money. The issue is whether the money went to Hamas," said prosecutor Barry Jonas, addressing defense attorney arguments that their clients did not benefit from any of Holy Land's business transactions just before the jury went back into deliberations.

...prosecutors attempted to prove that five former charity organizers used Holy Land, once the largest Muslim charity in the U.S., to funnel an estimated $60 million to the militant group – most of it before 1995.

Hamas was designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. in 1995, and the trial centered on the $12 million the government said Holy Land and supporters funneled to the group after that date....

...Holy Land, regardless of the verdict, is defunct. And other international terrorism financing pipelines have been interrupted....
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