Justice for Lynne Stewart!
Notes from the trial...
Friday, July 02, 2004
After exhausting ourselves moving the office from one side of Broadway to the other over last weekend (351 to 350 Broadway, same phone, fax,zip),we got an extra day when a juror (woman textile designer, Manhattan) was ill on Monday. It was a shame for all the loyal troops who showed up at Court to hear the #1 Ashcroft/Bush Crusader, Pat Fitzgerald complete his testimony.
On Tuesday, this career prosecutor did not disappoint his "handlers". While he appeared to be duly respectful during Tigar's cross; by the time he got to the re-direct he was ready to spin his web of paranoia and deceit. He spoke about the Sheik "undermining his own health" in order to provoke his followers to reprisals against the US. Is that why the Sheik has always been housed in a medical facility? Is he faking his daily insulin shots, his blindness? In 2001, did he decide that it was more than likely his feet would be amputated,due to the deterioration from diabetes and lack of medical care? He also failed to mention that there has been no reprisals, nor any violence of any kind by the Sheik's group since 1997. Then he went on to state emphatically that he recommended that the Sheik should NEVER get out of jail, after Ramsey Clark's overtures to arrange for the him to serve his time in Egypt, thus removing this so called "lightening rod" of violence from the United States. He also blithely recommended without giving any apparent thought to the Privilege that the calls should be tapped! Personally, I must say, knowing Fitzgerald at close quarters for almost a ten month trial in l994--95 and hearing him admit that he had a lot of "respect" for me as a lawyer, he, now in his forties,has not aged well. If the Japanese are right and we are all responsible for our "faces" after 40--- his boyish charm has worn pretty thin and he appears to have acquired that Irish puffy pomposity . Maybe it's the people he's hanging out with!!
The next witness on Tuesday was a survivor of the Luxor, Egypt massacre of 60 tourists, in 1997. We had fought hard to keep this out of the case because it had no relevancy. The government was permitted to introduce it based upon that I should have known(knowledge!) that this kind of thing could happen if I made a press release in 2000. We told the jury through Fitzgerald and it will be our constant refrain that the Sheik and his group had entered into a peace initiative at the time of Luxor and that the Sheik personally condemned it. The worst thing for any hope of re-patriation was untoward violence. The witness however, told of a bloody and fearsome incident, in the flattest tone, without any affect and with a thick German accent. So instead of riveting testimony on the face of terrorism told by a survivor, it was almost as if he was unaffected by it. The Times reporter assigned to the case Julia Preston , who some among you may remember from her days of government-sided stories from Central America in the '80's. said that he "struggled not to show his feelings" ...???
Later that afternoon and into the next morning, the government put on Kara Christensen, a paralegal for the BOP, in Rochester, Minnesota. She was to verify, the visits, the phone calls, and the delivery of the SAMS to the Sheik.(They actually taped one of the deliveries and put the tape in evidence. It shows an interpreter who appears to be Filipino, and the prison staff reading in English. At the end the Sheik refused to sign(as he always did) and told them, in Arabic, that he didn't understand a word the interpreter had said.) On cross examination Michael Tigar was able to bring out the totally isolated and deprived conditions the Sheik was forced to endure. (Ms Christensen identified me with a big Minnesota smile, too!) The rest of Wednesday was utilized to describe the search of the home of Ahmad Sattar by the FBI, which prompted Michael to say as they introduced boxes of newspaper files into evidence, that he never thought he'd see the time when a person could be indicted for the newspapers he subscribed to and clipped, after being a paralegal in the very case.The day ended with another sermon (Ho Hum) and a couple of telephone conversations seized pursuant to FISA between the sheik and people in the early 1990's. It seems clear that the government wishes they had Sheik Abdel Rahman on trial again but they'll make do with his legal team.
The judge then let the Jury go a day early because one of them had prior flight reservations for the next day. We came in on Thursday to discuss the tapes of conversations seized on the attorney client calls and visits. We have contended that the methods utilized in the computer age to safeguard this evidence is simply not able to assure anyone that the "original"is as it was when seized. The judge did not give us much play but for all of you who are computer knowledgeable/secure, Tuesday,July 5, promises to be a day of Tigar/FBI confrontation!!
It is difficult to keep this big courtroom filled but so far so good. People come in and out all day long. At the breaks (11:30, 1, and 3:30) it's almost like a reunion or a party with old friends! Many of my lawyer supporters mix and mingle with my family,my political friends and ex-clients!
Last week, we saw Kathleen Cleaver, who has graciously agreed to be on my advisory board, comedian and political activist Randy Credico, Rafael Anglada, longtime activist lawyer for the Puerto Rican struggle for autonomy, Nasser Ahmed, his wife and 5 children, my client who was held for three years in solitary confinement on bogus "secret evidence", Michael Smith, attorney and leader on the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee with his son Eli, a talented guitarist/banjopicker and recent graduate of Oberlin; old friends and comrades, Ginny Gernes and Dolphy Hazel, the good people who travel in from Suffolk Co. by train from the Huntington defenders of the Bill of Rights--- this is the face of my America. (oops,I forgot to list my dear Ralph--stalwart and uplifting as always!) So come on down to Foley Square, 40 Centre Street, Courtroom 110, (9:30 to 4:30 Mon to Thurs) We'll post any changes we know about on the website. We need your support. so give us an early or late lunch hour or a day. The Tigar show is worth the investment of time and you can never tell who you might run into!! Besides, those 12 jurors need to see you.
06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004
07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004
08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004
10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004