Wednesday, August 22, 2007

HLF defendant loses it during trial

The wheels are starting to come off and these "charitable" men are showing their true nature. Ghassan Elashi lashed out at the judge as he and the jury were exiting the courtroom for mid-morning break. "This is an extension of the Zionist occupation. We can’t win the case with this judge because he is a bigot" A frustrated Elashi, as you can see from his statement, blames the Jews. After the break, Judge A. Joe Fish was not so forgiving telling the defendant "We can’t have outbursts like that. I’m warning you that a further outburst wont be tolerated. If another outburst occurs, you will waive your right to be present in the courtroom"

Ghassan has much to worry about as the Chairman of the Holy Land Foundation. Before the group’s closure he was charged with selling computers and computer parts to Libya and Syria, both designated state sponsors of terrorism in 2002. The Ghassan brothers were sentanced to 80 to 84 months by a federal court and their company, Infocom, was shut down.

Of the 4 witnesses the most damning may have been Steve McGonigle, a reporter that covered the HLF for the Dallas Morning News since 1996. In 1999 McGonigle made a surprise visit to the HLF offices in Gaza. In a taped phone conversation between office manager Mohammad Muharram, HLF employee Haitham Maghawri and defendant Abu-Baker. Part of one conversation went like this; The office manager in Gaza just informed me that Steve McGonigle will be interviewing our clients. Do you want to cancel the meeting?, Maghawri asked in Arabic. Abu-Baker replied, No. But make sure he doesn’t interview the family of a martyr or a prisoner. Maghawri then said, Yeah, because if half a percent of an interview did not impress him, then McGonigle will focus on that half a percent. Abu-Baker said, This journalist is a Zionist. He’s not a friend. He’s in cooperation with the Jewish lobby in the U.S. For the last few years, he’s been trying to connect the HLF with terrorism. If he messes up this interview, that is what we’ll need to finally sue the Dallas Morning News.

During cross-examination we learned the paper was sued and HLF later dropped the suit after the feds shut down the charity.

Yes, I think it can only get better.

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