[Ppnews] Sami Al-Arian - Trial Postponed
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Sat Mar 7 12:43:24 EST 2009
Govt Admits: Fla. and Va. Prosecutors Were Split / Trial Postponed
Prosecutor Asks Judge to Reconsider: Will Third Time Be a Charm?
March 7, 2009 - Alexandria, VA - According to federal court briefs
filed on Wednesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Kromberg restated
his request for the judge to overturn her order compelling
prosecutors to turn over evidence regarding the 2006 plea
negotiations. This marks the third time that the government has
defied the court's order, signaling a desperate move to avoid
revealing the facts in the 2006 plea negotiations.
February 5th, Judge Leonie Brinkema ordered the government to provide
affidavits by prosecutors from Florida and the Department of Justice
regarding their knowledge of the promises given to Dr. Al-Arian in
Kromberg then filed a motion asking the judge to reconsider
her decision, which she
in a February 20th hearing, giving prosecutors one week to provide
On the eve of the February 27th deadline, prosecutor Kromberg
then asked for a five-day extension, which the judge granted.
However, on the day of the new deadline - which came a month after
the judge first ordered the evidence - the prosecutor defied the
judge's order, asking her once again to rescind it. In the March 4th
filing, he argued that the evidence is irrelevant. The latest
government filings also reveal a number of important facts:
-Prosecutors in Virginia began the process of compelling Dr.
Al-Arian's appearance before a grand jury in the midst of the plea
negotiations in early 2006.
-Prosecutors from Florida and the Department of Justice who were
involved in the negotiations objected to this move by Kromberg.
-Virginia prosecutors conceded that, following the plea
negotiations, both the defense and prosecution expected that Dr.
Al-Arian would be sentenced to time served and immediately deported.
-Virginia prosecutors then exploited the fact that the Judge in
Florida gave Dr. Al-Arian the maximum sentence despite the
government's recommendation of time served. They pressed for the
grand jury appearance even though the cooperation clause was
explicitly removed from the plea agreement.
-The filing also concedes that the standard cooperation clause, which
was explicitly removed from the plea agreement, compels defendants to
cooperate or testify in front of any grand jury upon the government's request.
These revelations raise a number of questions about the
government's conduct in Dr. Al-Arian's case, among them: Why would
the Florida prosecutors remove the cooperation clause from the plea
agreement unless there was a clear promise that Dr. Al-Arian would
not be compelled to cooperate or testify?
statements by Dr. Al-Arian's
affirm that non-cooperation was central to the negotiations.
Furthermore, why would the Florida prosecutors object to Kromberg's
attempts to compel Dr. Al-Arian's grand jury testimony unless
"non-cooperation" was part of the agreement?
Given these revelations, it comes as no surprise that
prosecutors have continuously defied Judge Brinkema's order and
refused to submit their affidavits regarding the plea negotiations.
As the judge noted during the February 20th hearing, "If somebody is
unwilling to divulge something, they must have something to hide."
These latest events underscore the clear abuse of power by
the government in this case. Not only has the Department of Justice
extended Dr. Al-Arian's imprisonment by over one year based on civil
contempt, it has also insisted on prosecuting him on charges of
criminal contempt, despite acknowledging that "no cooperation" was a
crucial element of the deal between the parties.
As Dr. Al-Arian's former attorneys Bill Moffitt and Linda
Moreno stated in their affidavits, this "bait and switch" tactic
against Dr. Al-Arian undermines confidence in good faith dealings
with the Department of Justice in general.
There will be a hearing in the case on Monday, March 9th at
11 a.m. sharp at the Alexandria Federal Courthouse. The courthouse
(address below) is within walking distance from the King Street
Station (Blue and Yellow Lines). <http://www.wmata.com/>Click here
for metro schedules and maps. <http://maps.google.com/>Click here for
Google Maps for directions to the courthouse.
Albert V. Bryan U.S. Courthouse
401 Courthouse Square
Alexandria, VA 22314
All supporters and people of conscience are encouraged to attend. The
judge is expected to rule on this crucial issue for a third time and
set a new trial date.
Petersburg Times and
Press articles on the latest development in the case.)
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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