Thursday, September 4, 2008
The Associated Press reports that federal prosecutors have dropped nearly 30 non-conspiracy charges against two leaders of the now defunct Holy Land Foundation for Religion and Development in the run up to a new criminal trial scheduled for later this month. Mufid Abdulqader and Abdulrahman Odeh still face trial for three conspiracy charges based on accusations that they used the charity to funnel millions of dollars to Hamas. Three other leaders of the charity also face charges arising out of the same accusations, with Shukri Abu Baker, the Foundation's chief executive, and Ghassan Elashi, its chairman, facing conspiracy, foreign terrorist organization support, money laundering, and filing false tax returns counts. The fifth individual defendant, Mohammed El-Mezain, faces a single conspiracy count. The Foundation is also a defendant in the case.
As summarized in the AP article and in a previous blog entry, the first criminal trial resulted in a mistrial last year as the jury was unable to return a guilty verdict on any of the 197 charges filed. It instead acquitted Mohammed El-Mezain of all but the single conspiracy charge he faces in the upcoming trial, and deadlocked on the remaining charge against him and on all of the charges against the other defendants.