This case has many twists and turns. In todays' hearing, Judge Dennis Sayler dropped many of the charges against the four defendants. I can't tell from the newspaper article which charges remain and what the sentencing is likely to be for the remaining charges. Update from the Worcester Telegram:
"A federal judge today threw out the most serious charges for which three officers of a defunct Muslim charity were convicted."
"Muhamed Mubayyid of Shrewsbury, Emadeddin Z. Muntasser of Braintree and Samir Al-Monla, of Brookline – the latter both formerly of Worcester – were convicted in January of conspiracy to defraud the United States by securing and maintaining tax-exempt status between 1993 and 2003 for the defunct Boston charity, Care International Inc., and other charges."
"U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV dismissed all of the charges against Mr. Al-Monla and all but one charge against Mr. Muntasser."
"The judge also set aside Mr. Mubayyid’s conviction for conspiracy to defraud the United States, but let stand most of the other charges for which he was convicted. Judge Saylor noted that the bulk of the violations for which Mr. Mubayyid was convicted fell within the six year statute of limitations covering those offenses."
"...The hearing today was to decide whether to acquit the defendants or to order a new trial. While Judge Saylor acquitted them of the most serious charges, he did not order a new trial on the remaining charges."
Can't tell which charges were upheld and what the sentencing might be. I'll look for analysis by the folks at the CounterTerorrism Blog on this development.
This Boston Globe article has more details on what charges remained and the consequences for the men:
"US District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV threw out the convictions of Samir Al-Monla of Brookline for conspiring to defraud the United States and engaging in a scheme to conceal the true origins of the nonprofit charity, Massachusetts Care International Inc., which allegedly promoted jihad and supported Islamic militants overseas. Al-Monla is expected to be freed this afternoon."
"The judge also acquitted Emadeddin Muntasser of Braintree, who owns Logan Furniture, of the same charges but allowed his conviction for making false statements to the FBI to stand. However, federal sentence guidelines call for a maximum of six months in prison for that crime, and Muntasser's lawyers said he has spent almost that much time at a federal detention facility in Rhode Island since the Jan. 11 verdict, making it likely he will be freed within days."
"Saylor said that the government had failed to prove that the two deliberately schemed to deceive the Internal Revenue Service about their organization's activities. He also said the government's evidence against the men was 'thin'. "
"Federal prosecutors said they would likely appeal to the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals"
"Saylor also dismissed a conspiracy conviction against a third leader of the group, Muhamed Mubayyid of Shrewsbury, but declined to overturn his conviction on four other offenses, most for filing false tax returns. Mubayyid's lawyer, Michael C. Andrews, said that he was disappointed and that his client could face as much as five or six years in prison when he is sentenced next week."
There's something wrong when a country's judicial system can't protect our us from people who come here to raise money for violent jihad in Chechnya, Bosnia, Pakistan, Israel and other places and call for "rivers of blood to flow." I don't understand how a judge can throw out the convictions made by a jury.
The judge prevented evidence from being introduced into the trial that demonstrated the the ties that Care International had with terrorists (including Osama bin Laden, who funded the parent organization) , and now the judge says that the government didn't prove that Care International was involved with terrorism. The feds have their hands tied somewhat. I hope they mount a successful appeal and soon.
My previous blog posts about the Care International trial are here (scroll down).