Monday, October 22, 2007

Holy Land Foundation: Not guilty/mistrial

The suburban Dallas Holy Land Foundation, on trial in federal court for allegedly funneling money to Hamas via Palestinian charities, has had one of its members found not guilty on all charges and one other on all but one terrorism-related charge;most other charges had a deadlocked jury and mistrial. Eleven of 12 jurors agreed last week that further polling would not change their minds. Given the number of charges for which non guilty verdicts were rendered, I’ll take a guess that the hung charges had an 9-3 not guilty breakout, maybe 10-2.

Mohammad El-Mezain, the Holy Land's original chairman and endowments director — was acquitted on most of the counts by a unanimous jury. The mistrial will not affect his acquittals, but he could still face prosecution on a charge of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism.

Earlier in the day, the jury forewoman told the judge that Mufid Abdulqader, a top Holy Land fundraiser and former Dallas public works supervisor, had been found not guilty on all counts. Abdulrahman Odeh, the foundation’s New Jersey representative, was also acquitted on most of the charges. She also said the jury was unable to reach a decision on all the other counts.

When polled, some jurors told the judge that they did not agree with the verdicts on Mr. El-Mezain and Mr. Odeh.

The government says it will retry the mistried charges. The verdict was reached last Friday and sealed until today.