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Eye On Boise

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 one posting to the group.

Prosecutor David Deitch told the judge he should be able to show the jury emails that were sent to all moderators. "That has independent value, to show that the defendant knew or had reason to know that he was a moderator," Deitch said. "He had the ability to delete any email."

Defense attorney David Nevin repeated his earlier argument: He's a member of a number of defense attorneys' email groups, and often there are postings he disagrees with. "People post things all the time that I disagree with or that I find far-fetched or that don't interest me," Nevin said, but nothing requires him to actively disavow each one to show he doesn't agree. "That's not how intention is manifest, nor how the law works."

The judge stuck with his previous ruling on the moderator issue, saying such an approach would "cause the jury to speculate as to whether the defendant actually looked at these postings."

But he did OK evidence of postings Al-Hussayen himself made to the group, called Qoqaz, and prosecutors began presenting those this morning. Most are news of the war in Chechnya, cast in favorable terms for the Muslim fighters and against the Russians. One rips Russian President Vladimir Putin as "that loser," and says that he "declares war on Allah, and that is the beginning of his end, Allah willing."

The defense has characterized Al-Hussayen's postings as cut-and-paste clippings, from various sources, of news from Chechnya.

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