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Eye On Boise archive for May 2004

FRIDAY, MAY 28, 2004

Role of the First Amendment?

As jurors enjoyed a long weekend, attorneys on both sides in the Sami Al-Hussayen case were back in court Friday, arguing about the instructions that will be given to the jury. Prosecutors were particularly alarmed by proposed instructions from the judge laying out the protections…

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Defense rests

After just one witness and a single day of testimony, the defense in the Sami Al-Hussayen trial has just announced that it rests its case."I'm caught short," responded Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim Lindquist. "I'm taken by surprise by this announcement."The court's in recess now, to…

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Personal relationship

Recruiting people to commit a terrorist act or to spy for another country takes a personal relationship with an appealing, persuasive recruiter, defense expert witness Frank Anderson told the court today. He testified that he personally recruited members of terrorist groups to spy for the…

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First volunteer expert

Frank Anderson, terrorism expert and former CIA agent in such locations as Lebanon, Yemen and Morocco, is the first of the expert witnesses in the Sami Al-Hussayen trial who isn't being highly paid. In fact, Anderson told the court today that he's volunteering his time…

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Testifying by video

Two of Sami Al-Hussayen's brothers will be allowed to testify in his trial by videoconference, Judge Edward Lodge ruled this morning. Prosecutors opposed allowing that, but defense attorney David Nevin argued, "Both these men have applied for visas to come to the United States and…

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TUESDAY, MAY 25, 2004

Not a good start

The defense's case got off to a rough start this morning, as an angry Judge Edward Lodge refused to allow the first witness to testify and blocked key defense exhibits - evidence that after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks Sami Al-Hussayen organized a blood…

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MONDAY, MAY 24, 2004

Changed his story

Terrorist recruit Khwaja Hasan changed his story somewhat when he testified in front of the jury this afternoon - this time, he said directly that viewing a web site about the Chechnyan conflict and watching the graphic video "Russian Hell 2000" more than a year…

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FRIDAY, MAY 21, 2004

Should they, or shouldn't they?

Attorneys on both sides offered impassioned arguments to the judge Friday morning on whether two young recruits to the al-Qaeda terrorist network should be allowed to testify against Sami Al-Hussayen, a University of Idaho graduate student who is accused of aiding terrorists, in part by…

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THURSDAY, MAY 20, 2004

Recruited by al Qaeda

Dressed in bright orange-yellow jail-issue scrubs, Yahya Goba gave short answers and took long pauses as he told the court about how he went to an al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan, at the urging of a friend and mentor from Lackawanna, N.Y., who's now…

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'They will want to go do this'

Rohan Gunaratna, the prosecution's second expert witness on terrorism, testified this morning that he agrees with earlier expert Reuven Paz that materials posted on web sites linked to Sami Al-Hussayen are the kind that drum up recruits and funds for terrorists."The material, when viewed by…

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Expert cross-examined

Here are some of the points brought out in defense attorney Chuck Peterson's cross-examination of Israeli terrorism expert Reuven Paz:* Paz has posted some of the same materials prosecutors have linked to Al-Hussayen on his own web site. He said he posts extremist materials for…

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Looking to roots

Israeli researcher and terrorism expert Reuven Paz reached back more than 1,000 years to explain the roots of modern-day Islamist terrorism, in his testimony today. From the Crusades to the Mongols, he detailed how major Islamic teachers offered new interpretations of religious teachings and views…

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TUESDAY, MAY 18, 2004

'For the fifth time...'

Cross-examination of FBI intelligence analyst John Pulcastro by lead defense attorney David Nevin ended dramatically this afternoon, as Nevin honed in on a statement at the bottom of several web pages Pulcastro had described - which appeared to show that the sites were still being…

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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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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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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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