Skip to comments.Prosecutors show jury prison visits between lawyer (Lynne Stewart), blind Egyptian sheik
Posted on 08/24/2004 8:42:32 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
NEW YORK (AP) - Prosecutors on Tuesday presented the core of their terrorism case against a civil rights lawyer: grainy videos of her meetings with a jailed Egyptian sheik she allegedly helped to communicate with followers.
A hidden camera at a federal prison in Rochester, Minn., recorded conversations of lawyer Lynne Stewart, Arabic interpreter Mohamed Yousry and Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, who is serving a life sentence.
Prosecutors contend the videotaped conversations prove a conspiracy among the three to aid terrorists. Also charged in the case is postal worker Ahmed Abdel Sattar, who had served the sheik as a paralegal and interpreter.
Authorities have said Stewart and Yousry enabled the sheik to smuggle dangerous messages to the outside world - despite prison rules severely limiting the sheik's visitors, mail, telephone calls and consultations with lawyers.
In the videotapes, played on a large screen in federal court in Manhattan, the three can be heard talking about their hopes that keeping Abdel-Rahman's name on the world stage might someday get him freed from prison.
Stewart represented the sheik at a 1995 trial in which he was convicted of conspiring to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and to bomb five New York landmarks including the United Nations.
"I think that the whole prosecution, I thought that from the first day, was politically, uh, motivated," Stewart says on a videotape.
In another spot, Yousry tells the sheik about a group in the Philippines that took hostages. He says a newspaper story failed to mention the group wanted to free the sheik.
"And Ramzi Yousef," the sheik adds, referring to the man now imprisoned for life in the United States after he was convicted of masterminding the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, which killed six people and injured more than 1,000 others.
Stewart responds: "Good for them. I didn't read that, either."
Later, Stewart asks if the group was still holding hostages.
When told it was, Stewart's comments are in dispute, so the jury got two versions in a transcript. The government version has Stewart saying, "That was a very," a comment surrounded by unintelligible remarks.
The defense version has her saying, "That's so sad. ... That was a very," followed by an unintelligible remark.
Throughout the several hours of prison visits, Stewart can be heard interrupting conversations between Yousry and the sheik when she believes guards are about to enter. She also can be heard joking about the efforts to keep guards at bay. "I can get an Academy Award for it," she says.
Outside court, Stewart said the levity was intentional because the sheik rarely had visitors or contact with anyone other than prison employees.
"I think there was an effort to be sociable, laughing, to make a joke," she said, admitting, however: "I was flippant. The Academy Award remark was totally unnecessary."
She said she suspects, though, the videotapes might help her show jurors her intentions were not criminal.
"If I were plotting, I would have been a lot more circumspect about the things I was saying," she said.
Stewart and Yousry are charged with providing material support to terrorists. If convicted, each could face about 20 years in prison. Sattar faces the most serious charge - conspiring to kidnap and kill people in a foreign country - and could face life in prison if convicted.
Prosecutors are expected to rest their case in several more weeks.
This can't be. A typical Marxist, Leftist liberal scumbag would never aid the enemies of America.
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