[Pnews] Rasmea Odeh Defense wants pro-Israel federal judge off case

Prisoner News 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 
filing said.

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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