[Pnews] Rasmea Odeh Defense wants pro-Israel federal judge off case
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jul 15 14:21:46 EDT 2014
Defense wants pro-Israel federal judge off case
By JOSH GERSTEIN <http://www.politico.com/reporters/JoshGerstein.html>
7/15/14 10:29 AM EDT
A Palestinian-American woman charged with immigration fraud for failing
to disclose she spent nearly 10 years in an Israeli prison after being
convicted of a pair of bombings in Jerusalem almost half a century ago
is asking that the judge assigned to the fraud case recuse himself
because of his activism on behalf of the State of Israel.
In a motion filed Monday, defense lawyers for Rasmea Odeh, 66, argued
that U.S. District Court Judge Paul Borman of Detroit should step aside
because he is active in building support for Israel, has sponsored
numerous trips there and has received accolades from pro-Israel groups.
The motion (posted here
does not mention directly that Borman is Jewish, but does note that he
has donated (along with his wife) at least $3 million to the United
Jewish Federation and that Borman's father also was an advocate for Israel.
"The defendant's claim of bias emanates from the Court's personal and
extrajudicial support and deep commitment to the State of Israel....The
Court has a long history of supporting and promoting the State of
Israel. The Court's public record of fundraising, organizing trips and
promoting the State of Israel cannot be disputed," Odeh's defense team
Odeh argues in the motion and other filings that her conviction in an
Israeli military court should not be taken notice of by the American
legal system because her treatment at the hands of Israeli officials and
soldiers included "multiple rapes," as well as various other acts of
"Clearly, one who has been a life-long supporter and promoter of Israel
and has deep ties to the State of Israel spanning over 50 years, who no
doubts believes that Israeli is a great democracy and protector of human
rights, cannot be 'reasonably' said to be impartial when these claims of
torture and illegality are raised by a Palestinian defendant," the
defense lawyers wrote.
The motion includes documentation showing Borman has held various
positions in Jewish organizations and, in 2007, received the United
Jewish Federation of Detroit's "highest honor" for his service.
Odeh was indicted last fall on charges that when she applied for
residence and citizenship in the U.S. she concealed her membership in
the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, her involvement in
the 1969 bombings and the fact that she'd spent time in Israeli prisons.
One of the bombs Odeh was convicted of involvement in planting killed
two students. She was sentenced in Israel to life behind bars, but was
released in a prisoner swap in 1979.
The prosecution plans to oppose the motion for recusal, the defense
It's unclear why Odeh was charged last fall, since she came to the U.S.
in 1994 and gained citizenship in 2004. She has worked recently with the
Chicago-based Arab-American Action Network, whose executive director
Hatem Abudayyeh became the focus of a federal investigation into alleged
support for the PFLP. He has not been charged.
Prosecutors filed motions last week seeking to preclude Odeh and her
team from disputing the validity of her convictions, from mentioning her
alleged torture, and from arguing selective prosecution at her trial,
set to begin Sept. 8.
Borman has yet to rule on those motions or the one asking him to recuse
himself from the case.
If convicted, Odeh faces up to 10 years in prison and loss of her U.S.
citizenship. In May, she balked at a plea deal
that would have called for her to serve no more than six months in
prison before being deported.
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