Prosecution in Lawyer's Terror Trial Is Accused of Playing on Fear
January 5, 2005
The New York Times
By JULIA PRESTON
A defense lawyer in the trial of Lynne F. Stewart, a lawyer charged with conspiring with Egyptian terrorists, accused the government yesterday of trying to play on jurors' fears by repeatedly referring to Osama bin Laden and the Sept. 11 attacks during the trial.
The sharp criticism of the prosecutors came on the first day of closing arguments by Kenneth A. Paul, a lawyer for one of Ms. Stewart's co-defendants, Ahmed Abdel Sattar. The prosecutors in the trial, in Federal District Court in Manhattan, have emphasized that Mr. Sattar had numerous telephone conversations with Egyptian Islamic militants who were in close contact with Mr. bin Laden. Mr. Sattar is a Staten Island postal worker who worked as a court-appointed paralegal aide with Ms. Stewart.
Mr. Paul said the prosecutors had "so blatantly attempted to tug and play upon those fears" of "the No. 1 enemy of the United States." He told the jurors that the government had tried "to scare you into thinking" that the case involved "a direct threat to the national security of the United States."
Judge John G. Koeltl has often reminded the jury during the six-month trial that Mr. bin Laden is not part of the case. But Mr. bin Laden still appeared repeatedly in the government's presentation, most notably in a videotape, recorded somewhere in Afghanistan and broadcast on television in the Middle East in September 2000, in which he threatened to attack the United States to win the release from prison of a client of Ms. Stewart's. The client, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, is a blind Islamic cleric who is serving a life sentence in an American prison for a thwarted plot to bomb landmarks in New York.
Two Egyptian Islamic militants who, the evidence has shown, had frequent telephone conversations with Mr. Sattar appear on the video with Mr. bin Laden.
But the prosecutors never showed that Mr. Sattar had anything to do with making the videotape. The main evidence in the trial was drawn from about 85,000 secretly recorded intercepts of Mr. Sattar's home telephone made by the F.B.I. between 1995 and 2002. Mr. Sattar is facing a charge of conspiracy to kill and kidnap in a foreign country, which carries a maximum life sentence.
The government presented no evidence that Ms. Stewart knew in any detail about Mr. Sattar's calls with the Egyptian militants.
Mr. Paul said Mr. Sattar had followed guidance from Ms. Stewart and other lawyers for Mr. Abdel Rahman when he sent letters to the sheik in prison with messages from Egyptian Islamists. Mr. Sattar did not help to disseminate any message from the sheik that he understood to be a call for violence, Mr. Paul said.
November 18, 2012
October 20, 2012
July 28, 2012
July 9, 2012