[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?

DOJ Seal
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 
those negotiations.

         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 
the evidence.

        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.

(See attached 
Petersburg Times and 
Press articles on the latest development in the case.)

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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