Charity on Trial for Alleged Ties to Hamas
Posted Jul 23, 2007 9:51 AM CST
By Molly McDonough
Opening statements are set to begin this week in the long-awaited and controversial trial of what once was the nation's largest Islamic charity.
Since it was shut down six years ago, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development stands accused of supplying resources the terrorist group Hamas. Charity officials, however, have resolutely claimed that their organization's money went to provide relief in Gaza, the West Bank and for refugees in Lebanon and Jordan.
But what may be most unusual about this case is the broad sweep of the prosecution, the LA Times reports. Indeed, listed in the indictment are some 300 individuals and groups named as unindicted co-conspirators, including established U.S.-based lobbying organizations.
The LA Times reports it spoke to current and former federal prosecutors who question the breadth of the move, with former Los Angeles federal prosecutor Adam Braun noting in the Times that, his office policy was to avoid "sullying someone's reputation unnecessarily" and limiting the use of named co-conspirators unless there is proof of wrongdoing.
Jury selection for the case, which is being tried before U.S. District Judge A. Joe Fish in Dallas, ended last week, the Dallas Morning News reports. Opening statements are scheduled for Tuesday. The trial is expected to last three months.