by John Gerstein
A federal judge's long-secret ruling that federal prosecutors violated the rights of three major American Islamic organizations and others named as unindicted co-conspirators in a Texas terrorism support case finally became public on Friday.
However, publication of the ruling is a mixed blessing for the groups: the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North America and the North American Islamic Trust. That's because U.S. District Court Judge Jorge Solis found that the government presented "ample evidence to establish the association" of the three organizations with Hamas, a Palestinian group that the U.S. has labeled as a terrorist organization and with a defunct charity convicted in the terrorism support case, the Holy Land Foundation.
NAIT appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit to overturn Solis's ruling and have it unsealed. The federal appeals court recently agreed that the ruling should be unsealed and suggested that parts of it went too far, but the appeals panel refused to change it.
Jason Trahan with The Dallas Morning News, who covered the Holy Land Foundation trial, posted Solis's ruling online for the first time here. I first reported on Solis's sealed ruling here on this blog about a year ago while it was still under wraps.
Just in passing, I'd note that The New York Times reported back in August 2007 on the groups' legal motions complaining that they'd been smeared by the federal government. The paper has yet to return to the subject.
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.