Sami Al-Arian Walk Watch update from Haaretz, “U.S. court asked to move Israeli testimony to end of terror trial”
The defense team for four Arab Americans on trial for involvement in terror attacks has asked a Florida court not to let the Israeli witnesses testify at the trial’s opening.
Professor Sami al-Arian, a computer lecturer at South Florida University, and three others are facing charges of aiding Islamic Jihad, which is responsible for dozens of terror attacks against Israelis.
The prosecution wants to open with testimony from several witnesses from Israel, including survivors of terror attacks, members of bereaved families and police officers.
The defense wants to avoid these testimonies at the very beginning of the trial, to prevent swaying the jurors’ opinions before the prosecution has established a connection between the defendants and the terror attacks.
U.S. District Court Judge James Moody agreed with the defense, which made its request Thursday, that before the testimonies are heard the prosecution must prove that the suspects took part in plotting attacks and knew they would lead to murder. He also said these testimonies are more shocking than useful. But, in view of the prosecution’s insistence, Moody said he would decide only after the trial begins.
Al-Arian and the other defendants are charged with transferring funds and messages to Islamic Jihad leaders for more than a decade. They also openly supported attacks in which both Israelis and Americans were killed, the charges say.
The prosecution said it intends to summon some 50 terror survivors, 17 Israeli police officers and 18 rescue team members to testify at the beginning of the trial on June 6…