What? You mean Al-Arian didn’t tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth at all times? What are you, some kind of Islamophobe? Rumpled Academic Update from the Tampa Tribune (thanks to Sr. Soph):
TAMPA – Lying to the media is not a crime in America.
But prosecutors Thursday presented evidence that Sami Al-Arian lied to at least one reporter about his involvement in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and his relation to Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, who in late October 1995 emerged as the new secretary general of the terrorist organization.
The government contends that Al-Arian’s lies to the media were part of a coverup to further a criminal conspiracy to help organize and fund the Islamic Jihad while he worked as a professor at the University of South Florida.
For three weeks, prosecutors have been reading to jurors from transcripts of wiretapped conversations and faxes, which captured Al-Arian’s deep involvement in Islamic Jihad business in 1994. They showed him proposing financial reform for the organization’s governing body and also floating ideas for a merger with Hamas, a larger terrorist group.
More than on any other day in the trial, Thursday’s testimony cast the Tampa area’s two main newspapers in opposing roles in this case, with The Tampa Tribune pursuing Al-Arian’s alleged links to terrorism and the St. Petersburg Times expressing skepticism about the stories.
Thursday’s court session began with transcripts of conversations between Al-Arian and other Islamic Jihad officials discussing their rage over a May 1995 series by Tribune reporter Michael Fechter, examining Al-Arian’s ties to the Islamic Jihad.
The court day ended with prosecutors playing tapes of October 1995 telephone conversations Al-Arian had with a reporter for the St. Petersburg Times in which Al-Arian denied any involvement with any “political organization.”
In one May 1995 conversation, Bashir Nafi, another member of the Islamic Jihad’s shura council, or board of directors, calls Fechter “third class.”
Al-Arian responds using a profanity to describe the reporter. “This is an Israeli job, my brother,” Al-Arian said.
Sure, Sami. It’s all a Zionist conspiracy.