[Ppnews] Government moves to silence Tarek Mehanna's defense!!

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Oct 13 00:43:41 EDT 2011


Read below for to find out how the government is moving to silence 
Tarek's defense! They have laid out all of the points they do not 
want out in the public, so make sure to help us make it as public as possible!


Goverment Moves to Prevent Tarek Mehanna from Presenting his Case to the Jury

In a series of pre-trial motions filed on October 3, 2011, government 
prosecutors are seeking to restrict any evidence, commentary or 
testimony that would expose the political nature and retaliatory 
motives of their case against Tarek Mehanna. The motions themselves 
lay bare the real issues at stake in the case: all the things that 
the government wants to prevent the defense from talking about.

Here are some excerpts from a motion entitled "GOVERNMENT'S MOTION IN 
LIMINE TO LIMIT DEFENSE COMMENT AND INQUIRY REGARDING INADMISSIBLE 
SUBJECT MATTER":

"Government Charging Decisions. Arguments and comments on the 
charging decisions of the government are irrelevant to whether the 
evidence is sufficient to convict the defendant and could 
inappropriately distract the jury from the factual issues that they 
must decide. ... The decision to prosecute the defendant, including 
implications about the sequence of timing of those decisions, as well 
as the government's prosecutorial decisions with regard to the 
co-defendant or to other individuals, are not appropriate for the 
defense to comment upon in opening. "
And later: "Another attempt to impugn the propriety of the 
government's investigation is likely to be through a defense attempt 
to suggest that the government made immunity deals with more culpable 
individuals than the defendant."

Translation: In 2010, the government allowed a cooperating witness in 
the case, Bilaal McCloud, to go free on a charge of being a felony in 
possession of firearms. They apparently had material evidence against 
McCloud. They nevertheless chose instead to prosecute Tarek--against 
whom they have no such evidence--and to allow McCloud to walk free. 
They did this in return for his testimony incriminating Tarek. The 
government seems to be aware that potential jurists might find this 
strange--even outrageous. So they want to be sure that the jury won't 
learn about it.

It's also clear that the decision to prosecute Tarek for "terrorism" 
related charges occurred after a long period of coercive pressure 
aimed at getting him to work as an informant for the FBI. He was 
initially arrested in 2008 on a lesser charge of "lying to federal 
agents." Terrorism charges followed in 2009 based on "evidence" the 
government claims to have possessed since 2006 and only after Tarek 
refused to work for the FBI as an informant against other Muslims. 
The "sequence and timing" of the government's "charging decisions" 
would raise legitimate suspicions in the mind of any rational person, 
so the government doesn't want a jury to learn about it.

"The Government's Motivation for Investigating or Prosecuting the 
Case. Evidence bearing on the government's decision to prosecute is 
"extraneous and collateral" and thus excluded from trial."

Translation: The FBI repeatedly approached Tarek to try to recruit 
him as an informant. He refused. They threatened to prosecute him on 
"terrorism " charges and to make his life a "living hell." He still 
refused. They proceeded to arrest him on "terrorism" charges. Most 
people hearing this would see the possibility that the government's 
actions were retaliatory and politically motivated. They want to be 
sure that these motives can't be talked about.

 From another government motion, "TO PRECLUDE ARGUMENT AND EVIDENCE

RELATED TO THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT'S POLITICAL POLICIES AND 
ACTIVITIES ABROAD AND IN DOMESTIC (CRIMINAL) TERRORISM INVESTIGATIONS 
AND RELATED MATTERS":

"The United States of America ... moves in limine to preclude the 
defendant from arguing, eliciting testimony (including expert 
testimony) or presenting evidence regarding the merits of United 
States government's political policies abroad, and references to the 
righteousness of its defense and intelligence activities, and 
domestic criminal investigations and prosecutions, and alleged 
political motivation for defendant's actions. Based upon the 
defendant's arguments in this case, and disclosures made by the 
defense, the government anticipates attempted references in opening 
statement and closing argument,and during cross and direct 
examination, that question or criticize the righteousness of U.S. 
governmental policies and actions, such as the invasion of Iraq and 
Afghanistan, and the defendant's First Amendment right to protest 
same, the solicitation of assistance in terrorism investigations, the 
relationship with the American Muslim community, the prioritization 
of law enforcement objectives, the decision to designate al Qa'ida as 
a terrorist organization, and several other political and irrelevant 
issues which will prevent a jury from remaining focused on the facts 
that they will be sworn to decide."

And later: "...the government respectfully requests this Court to 
preclude the defendant from eliciting testimony, presenting evidence 
of or arguing in the opening or closing statement related to the 
propriety of the U.S. Government's policy positions with regard to 
the Executive's actions, the suggestion the prosecution seeks to 
punish the defendant for opposing what he might view as improper 
foreign policy actions of the United States, and his alleged first 
amendment right to do so."

Translation: Tarek has been public and outspoken in his opposition to 
US wars of aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq, the detention of 
Muslims, and other US policies. The vast majority of "evidence" the 
government has submitted against Tarek consists of political speech. 
Most juries would be appalled to learn that "terrorism" charges were 
being used to silence political speech. The government is thus trying 
to preclude any presentation of this argument to a jury.

 From a further motion, "TO PRECLUDE QUESTIONING WHICH ELICITS 
CLASSIFIED INFORMATION AND RESTRICTS COUNSEL FROM MAKING COMMENTS 
BEFORE THE JURY SUGGESTING CLASSIFIED INFORMATION IS BEING USED TO 
PROSECUTE THE DEFENDANT":

"The United States of America ... hereby moves in limine to preclude 
the defendant from eliciting testimony from any witness that would 
reveal classified information or force a witness to indicate that a 
response would require them to disclose classified information. 
Likewise, the government requests the Court to order the defense to 
refrain from making inappropriate comments to the jury suggesting 
that classified information (or "secret evidence" or some other 
analog) is being used to prosecute the defendant."

Translation: The government has refused to turn over evidence used in 
obtaining electronic surveillance warrants against Tarek. Such 
evidence might demonstrate that the government engaged in 
illegitimate spying on political dissidents, or show how the 
government manipulated informants, or reveal other information that 
might severely discredit its case. The use of "secret evidence" 
stinks of totalitarianism. So the government wants to make sure that 
its use of "secret evidence" also remains a secret. The right of the 
defendant to see the evidence is, after all, one of the most 
elementary rights to due process. A jury might have doubts about a 
case in which the defendant has been deprived of those rights.

And here's our personal favorite, quoting again from the first motion 
discussed above:

"the government respectfully requests that the Court preclude any 
allegations of outrageous government conduct as a trial defense."

Virtually everything about this case--including all the motions 
listed above-- falls under the category of "outrageous government 
conduct." What would happen if the jury heard that?



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