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Eye On Boise

TUESDAY, MAY 18, 2004

Most are admitted

So far today, about a dozen exhibits related indirectly to Sami Al-Hussayen have been admitted as evidence, two have been blocked, and a half-dozen have been put on hold. Most of the exhibits are web sites with information about fighting in Chechnya or treatises on...

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MONDAY, MAY 17, 2004

Case already proven?

In legal briefs filed today, prosecutors contend they've already proven that University of Idaho graduate student Sami Al-Hussayen was part of a conspiracy to aid terrorists - an argument bitterly disputed by the defense in its own brief.Prosecutors cited four fatwas offering religious justifications for...

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FRIDAY, MAY 14, 2004

All the way to Boise

The next witnesses the prosecution will present in Sami Al-Hussayen’s terrorism trial are coming from afar. Terrorism expert Reuven Paz came all the way from Israel to testify, possibly on Monday. A second terrorism expert, who will be in Boise on Sunday to prepare to...

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THURSDAY, MAY 13, 2004

Katz can testify

Author Rita Katz can testify about links between various web sites, but her testimony can't be the basis for introducing any exhibits about those sites into evidence, Judge Edward Lodge has ruled. Katz originally had been proposed as an expert witness, but instead is testifying...

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First fatwa

The first fatwa to be described in front of the jury is one from Sheikh Salman Al-Awdah entitled, "Martyrdom Operations." It outlines various conditions related to religious law cited by other Islamic scholars, then says, "Based on these conditions, these operations can be carried out...

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Impassioned arguments

Impassioned arguments filled the courtroom this morning, as both sides argued whether four fatwas, or fatawa - plural of fatwa - should be shown to the jury. The four offer religious justifications for suicide attacks, particularly against Jews. They were posted in the spring of...

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WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 2004

Not all his

Large numbers of the files on the computer seized from Sami Al-Hussayen's apartment weren't his - suggesting the computer was used by others, too, and may not always have been at Al-Hussayen's Moscow home.That information, brought out in cross-examination by defense attorneys this morning, followed...

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TUESDAY, MAY 11, 2004

Computer tells story

Sami Al-Hussayen's home computer was used for "web site testing, development, maintenance and publication of content to several Internet sites," a prosecution computer expert testified today, as well as for thousands of online financial transactions involving donations.According to computer forensic expert Curtis Rose's report, the...

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MONDAY, MAY 10, 2004

'Assault on the First Amendment'

Voices were raised in the courtroom this afternoon, as lead prosecutor Kim Lindquist heatedly objected to the idea that his characterization of Sami Al-Hussayen's postings to a Yahoo email group about Chechnya are an "assault on the First Amendment."Judge Edward Lodge said, "As I understand...

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'Kill, and conquer again and kill

Over defense objections, prosecutors introduced a slew of postings to a Yahoo email group about Chechnya today, each posted to the group by Sami Al-Hussayen, who's being tried on charges of providing material support to terrorism.Most appear to be news reports highly sympathetic to the...

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Try, try again

Prosecutors tried for a third time today to get the judge to let them show the jury evidence that Sami Al-Hussayen was a designated "moderator" of a Yahoo email group about Chechnya. He was one of an undetermined number of moderators, but only ever deleted...

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THURSDAY, MAY 6, 2004

Wait a minute

Earlier in the trial, U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge had ruled in the strongest of terms that he wouldn't allow evidence against Sami Al-Hussayen in the form of thousands of postings to a Yahoo email group about Chechnya that came from others, just because Al-Hussayen...

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Who was in control?

As lead defense attorney David Nevin continues his cross-examination of key prosecution witness John Pulcastro this afternoon, Nevin has focused for the past hour on questioning the FBI analyst's contention that Sami Al-Hussayen controlled an array of Islamic web sites. He pointed to numerous instances...

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Now for the other side

The government still is presenting its side of the case against Sami Al-Hussayen, but the testimony of the government's main witness, FBI intelligence analyst John Pulcastro, just finished. That means the cross-examination of Pulcastro by the defense will start, which could be extensive. Pulcastro has...

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WEDNESDAY, MAY 5, 2004

Same thing?

A government witness, Mohammed Aleem, did everything Sami Al-Hussayen is accused of doing and more, defense attorneys complained in court on Wednesday. Al-Hussayen is accused of aiding terrorists by helping maintain various Islamic web sites, in what authorities call an Internet-based campaign to raise funds...

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Harrowing rhetoric

Jurors endured an hour of harrowing, bloodthirsty rhetoric about killing Jews and destroying Israel in a lecture by an extremist Saudi sheikh, read in part to the court today by an FBI intelligence analyst.The lecture, by Sheikh Safar Al-Hawali, propounded a theory that Christians and...

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Right-hand man?

In arguments to the judge this morning, prosecutors charged that Sami Al-Hussayen is Saudi Sheikh Safar Al-Hawali's "right-hand man as far as web site maintenance and web site matters," a contention the defense quickly termed "ridiculous."Lead defense attorney David Nevin said Al-Hawali recently was asked...

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TUESDAY, MAY 4, 2004

One by one

No word from the judge yet. Instead, the prosecution has gone back to introducing, one by one, fairly innocuous exhibits, most involving lengthy intercepted phone conversations and emails between Sami Al-Hussayen and others about technical, management and staffing problems involving various web sites. The day...

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Free speech or terrorism?

In explosive arguments in court this morning, prosecutors charged that Sami Al-Hussayen schemed to help broadcast an incendiary speech on the Palestinian Intifada by controversial Saudi Sheikh Safar Al-Hawali on the Internet, thereby proving that he was helping terrorists with recruitment and fundraising. They said...

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MONDAY, MAY 3, 2004

Don't ask, don't tell?

Here's an odd one: Federal attorneys don't want Sami Al-Hussayen's defense lawyers to ask government witnesses if they've been arrested for terrorism.The question comes after the defense has pointed out that government witnesses, such as the head of the Internet Archive service, have posted and...

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THURSDAY, APRIL 29, 2004

He signed on the line

Among the many web site registration forms and other minutiae presented as evidence in court on Thursday to tie Sami Al-Hussayen to various web sites, there were four documents he signed, giving various titles showing he had responsible positions.One was a contract, in Arabic, in...

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Dedicated volunteer

In several of the intercepted phone calls and emails introduced as evidence this week, people affiliated with the Islamic Assembly of North America marvel at all the help Sami Al-Hussayen provides the religious outreach group, without any pay."We get paid, doing what we do. You...

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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 28, 2004

Bits and pieces

Prosecutors this morning showed the jury bits and pieces from 58 different exhibits, mostly intercepted emails and phone conversations involving Sami Al-Hussayen and people associated with the Islamic Assembly of North America - and that was just before lunch.Jurors' heads must have been spinning for...

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TUESDAY, APRIL 27, 2004

Were his knees that bad?

A reporter for the Idaho Statesman was ejected from the courtroom by a guard on Tuesday and ordered to go home and change because he was wearing shorts – long walking shorts, but shorts nonetheless. The guard refused his offer to leave later and change...

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Not about Al-Hussayen?

In his cross-examination of FBI Special Agent Michael Gneckow on Tuesday morning, defense attorney David Nevin asked Gneckow, "Just so we're clear about it, that call you got from a bank employee in 2001, that did not relate to Mr. Al-Hussayen, is that correct?"Gneckow had...

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Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.