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Eye On Boise archive for Jan. 1, 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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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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MONDAY, APRIL 26, 2004

A web site is a warm gun

Among the arguments both sides in the Al-Hussayen case submitted in legal documents over the weekend is one in which the government likened its legal theory behind the case to an armed robbery prosecution. Al-Hussayen is charged with providing material support to terrorists by operating…

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Surprise ruling

There was a surprise ruling in the Al-Hussayen trial this morning – Judge Edward Lodge ruled that the prosecution can’t introduce into evidence thousands of emails posted to a Yahoo email group but not linked directly to Sami Al-Hussayen, and also ruled that four fatwas,…

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From the coast of Utah

Witnesses in court on Thursday in the Al-Hussayen trial included a series of FBI translators, who testified about their qualifications. Among them was Jabra Ghnein, a Kuwaiti native and professional translator and linguist who told the court his main job for the past year has…

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That's tight security

Monday was the 9th anniversary of the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, prompting extraordinarily tight security at the federal courthouse in Boise.Federal Protective Service police officers openly displayed automatic weapons, as they have periodically throughout the trial. But to add to that,…

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What he didn't say

At least one of the seven counts of visa fraud and one of the five counts of false statements against Sami Al-Hussayen rely on a new, post-Sept. 11 official form that Al-Hussayen submitted in 2002 to get clearance to continue his studies in the United…

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MONDAY, APRIL 19, 2004

See for yourself

There's been much debate in the Sami Al-Hussayen trial so far about various Internet sites and their content. Want to see them for yourself? Knowledge of Arabic would be helpful to see the full content of some, but there are also options for English. Check…

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Ups and downs

After the drama of the Al-Hussayen trial's opening arguments on Wednesday, the first round of testimony this morning was a comparative snoozer, as an immigration official painstakingly identified various lines on various immigration forms.During the course of an hour and half of that, in the…

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'Not who he is'

Sami Omar Al-Hussayen was, in fact, affiliated with the Islamic Assembly of North America and with two Saudi sheikhs, his defense attorneys said in their opening statements this morning - but not illegally."Sami was not an employee of this organization - he volunteered, and he's…

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Jury system impresses

Samir Shahat, a Pullman chemist who’s originally from Egypt, said he was impressed with what he saw after sitting through the jury selection for the Sami Al-Hussayen trial on Tuesday."I’m here to support Sami and at the same time witnessing the American justice system," said…

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MONDAY, APRIL 12, 2004

One safe parking lot

Security certainly was stepped up at the federal courthouse in Boise this week, as preparations began for the terrorism trial of Sami Omar Al-Hussayen. In the courthouse parking lot on Monday, under brilliant spring sunshine, there seemed to be an officer about every 15 feet.When…

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Otter chooses Caldwell for announcement

U.S. Rep. Butch Otter launched his re-election campaign Wednesday in Caldwell, flanked by Canyon County Sheriff George Nourse, left, and former Gov. Phil Batt, right. Otter proclaimed, "I was born here. This is my roots – not only my birthright roots, but my philosophical roots."Unlike…

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To tell the truth

When an anti-gay-marriage computerized phone-bank message targeted the districts of a half-dozen state senators, including at least one in North Idaho, Sen. Gerry Sweet, R-Meridian, denied all knowledge. He and Rep. Henry Kulczyk, R-Eagle, were the main sponsors of an anti-gay-marriage constitutional amendment that failed…

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Who's on the ballot?

Did you know that Dennis Kucinich and Al Sharpton are on Idaho’s primary ballot for president, along with the better-known John Kerry and George W. Bush? How about that there’s a three-way Republican primary for the state Senate seat in Kootenai County’s District 3 –…

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It's all over now

The Idaho House adjourned its 2004 session at 5:45 p.m. on Saturday, March 20th, and the Senate followed suit at 6:52 p.m. Gov. Dirk Kempthorne hailed lawmakers for their 69-day session, saying, "I think we have seen tremendous progress made." But with 200 to 300…

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Not much of a compliment

Sen. Bert Marley, D-McCammon, gave a grudging compliment to those who hashed out the much-amended charter school reform bill as the session closed, though he opposed the bill."We could've done better," he said. "I guess I have to applaud the efforts that have been made…

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One way to reduce controversy

Among the many fits and starts that the much-lobbied, much-amended charter school reform legislation went through was an odd one on Saturday morning. The Senate was getting ready to consider whether or not to concur with two rounds of House amendments to SB 1444. But…

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They showed 'em

As the state Senate worked into the night Thursday, Sens. Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth, and Gerry Sweet, R-Meridian, saw just the opportunity they'd been waiting for. Two moderate senators were missing, having been formally excused for conflicting commitments as the night wore on. So Pearce…

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Just quit breathing?

Then there was Rep. Bill Sali, R-Meridian, the House's Health and Welfare Committee chairman. He told the House, "If we're concerned about the air, then we all need to quit breathing, because we're all exhaling carbon dioxide, which is one of the constituents of cigarette…

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And then there was this study...

Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, was right in the middle of his debate against the smoking bill when suddenly Rep. Kathy Skippen's computer began blaring out the theme to Indiana Jones, right into the House P.A. system.Skippen couldn't get it to stop, though Harwood was…

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It's up, it's down, it's up

First, Gov. Dirk Kempthorne proposed a $1,000 tax credit for new jobs that pay more than $15.50 an hour and provide health insurance benefits. Then, the House thought that was too high, so they amended it down to $12.50 an hour.When the bill got to…

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MONDAY, MARCH 15, 2004

Blame it on North Idaho?

With lawmakers scrambling to wrap up their session by the end of this week, it was something of a surprise on Friday when the Senate, which has more than 100 bills left on its calendar, decided to quit shortly after lunchtime and head home for…

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Sandpoint girl cheers senators' vote

Hannah Vogel, 13, was visiting the state Capitol with a group of 35 eighth graders from Sandpoint Charter School when she sat in on a Senate committee hearing where, after tough questioning from senators, a pro-field burning bill was unexpectedly killed by one vote. Hannah…

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