Tempers were boiling over at the Rumpled Academic’s trial, and his lead defense attorney demonstrated that perhaps he has been learning a bit of peace and tolerance from his clients. “Emotions Boil In Al-Arian Case,” from the Tampa Tribune, :
TAMPA Frustration seized the day briefly Tuesday in the terror-support trial of Sami Al-Arian as a defense attorney bumped a federal prosecutor and accused the government of “cheating.”
William Moffitt was angry that Hebrew documents an Israeli government official testified about had no English translation attached. Moffitt said he wanted to question the witness about the documents’ contents during a morning break.
Federal prosecutor Cherie Krigsman told Moffitt she wanted someone else in the room to observe the conversation.
That set Moffitt off. Prosecutors should have provided translations, he said, throwing the documents onto the defense table. He then bumped Krigsman and hollered, “This is business. You’re trying to put a guy in jail for life.”
“You cheat,” he continued. “You cheat all the time.”
Both the jury and U.S. District Judge James Moody had left the courtroom and did not see the incident.
It seemed to catch the other lawyers and U.S. marshals in the courtroom off guard. FBI Agent Kerry Myers got between Moffitt and Krigsman, telling Moffitt to leave Krigsman alone because “she’s a female.”
Moffitt challenged the agent. “Get in my face one more time,” he said.
In the end, Moffitt did meet with the witness. Then he chose not to cross-examine him.
Later, Moffitt said the issue was part of a pattern of unfair behavior by prosecutors.
“They hand me a Hebrew document. I have no translation,” Moffitt said. “I’m expected to make a decision about cross-examination. This is typical of the way things have happened, and I finally got fed up with it.”
Krigsman downplayed the incident.
“I’m a federal prosecutor,” she said. “I was in the Army 23 years. I’ve seen men get mad before. It’s all in a day’s work.”
The witness, Nissim Elyassaf, brought government records Israel keeps that show a person’s identification number, marital status and parents’ names. He searched the records of four men who carried out a 1992 attack against Israeli soldiers. That helped show that four payments of nearly $2,000 that Al-Arian sent later went to the attackers’ families.