How could the “vilest of created beings” (Qur’an 98:6) sit in judgment of the “best of people” (Qur’an 3:110)?
An attorney has hatched a shocking scheme to defend an accused terrorist in Brooklyn federal court: Purge the Jews.
Lawyer Frederick Cohn will ask a judge today to bar Jews from the jury hearing the case against Abdel Hameed Shehadeh, who’s accused of lying about trying to join jihadists in Pakistan.
“Given that there’s going to be inflammatory testimony about Jews and Zionism, I think it would be hard for Jews to cast aside any innate antipathy,” said Cohn, who is Jewish.
“The American Jewish community is heavily aligned with Israel and Zionism. Here is a guy who is a Muslim, who is opposed to those things.”
The subject of the controversial ban first arose at a recent court hearing.
“Your Honor . . . as you know, I”m not wild about having Jews on the jury in this case,” Cohn told Brooklyn federal Judge Eric Vitaliano in February.
Federal prosecutors William Sarratt and James Loonam reacted with alarm.
“I don’t think Judge [Robert] Levy will be ready to violate the Constitution and exclude people from the jury on the basis of their religious beliefs,” Sarratt told the judge.
Magistrate Judge Levy will begin selecting the jury this week.
The Shehadeh trial is not the first time jurors” religious views have taken center stage at a court proceeding.
At the initial trial of two black men accused of civil-rights violations stemming from the Crown Heights killing in 1991 of Hasidic scholar Yankel Rosenbaum, Brooklyn federal Judge David Trager tried to balance the religious and racial composition of the jury.
But an appellate court overturned the verdict, saying the approach violated the Constitution.
Cohn conceded that his proposal is a “long shot.” But he argued that rules governing methods of selecting juries don’t allow attorneys to delve deep into the private recesses of a potential juror’s mind to determine if they are biased.
“I don’t know of a gentler way to deal with this, and sometimes you have to wield a meat ax,” Cohn said of the difficulty in ascertaining the deeply held beliefs of a potential jurist.
His client is a US citizen born and raised in New York who is charged with three counts of making false statements in connection with a terrorism offense.