Skip to comments.Man's pro-Saddam tape part of trial
Posted on 01/03/2004 3:15:15 AM PST by sarcasm
In the speech at a celebration of Saddam Hussein's birthday in 2001, the Oak Lawn man praises the Iraqi ruler as a "great'' and "inspirational'' leader.
A federal judge ruled Friday that prosecutors can show jurors a videotape of Khaled Abdel-Latif Dumeisi's remarks at his trial on charges that he acted as an unregistered agent of the Iraqi government. The trial begins Monday in U.S. District Court. Prosecutors accuse Dumeisi of spying on Iraqi opposition members in the United States.
Federal judge Suzanne Conlon agreed with prosecutors that the speech, made at the headquarters of the Iraqi Mission to the United Nations, shows Dumeisi's motive to allegedly aid the government of Iraq, even though Dumeisi is not Iraqi.
A Palestinian who has lived in various Middle Eastern countries, Dumeisi has repeatedly praised Hussein for his help with fighting Israel, which he called the "evil Zionist stronghold.'' He is now a permanent resident of the United States.
"It might reflect his state of mind,'' Conlon said of the speech. Prosecutors also allege that Dumeisi printed articles in his Arabic-language newspaper at the behest of the Iraqi government in order to goad opposition members into identifying themselves.
Conlon also rejected contentions by Dumeisi's attorneys that articles from his Burbank-based newspaper, Al Mahjar, shouldn't be admitted as evidence because doing so would violate Dumeisi's First Amendment rights to publish his opinions. However, Conlon said she'll rule on whether individual articles would unfairly prejudice the jury during the trial itself.
Conlon did not rule on whether Iraqi Intelligence Service documents seized in Iraq after the fall of Baghdad -- papers that allegedly make reference to Dumeisi under a code name -- will be admitted at trial. The documents are considered crucial to the government's case.
Conlon interrupted the public court hearing for more than a half-hour to meet privately with attorneys to discuss prosecutors' accidental disclosure of classified information in case documents. She made no mention of what happened during the hearing when the public hearing later reconvened.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Victoria Peters declined to comment on the disclosure.
Dumeisi appeared in court in an orange prison jumpsuit but did not speak. He has been in solitary confinement at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago since his arrest in July.
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