Thursday, February 10, 2005

NY Attorney Convicted Related to Representation of Radical Egyptian Sheik Client

New York attorney Lynne Stewart was convicted of conspiracy, giving material aid to terrorists, and defrauding the government for smuggling messages from her client -- Omar Abdel-Rahman, a radical Egyptian sheik sentenced to prison in 1995 for conspiracy to kill Egyptian President Mubarak and blow up landmarks in the New York City -- to his followers regarding the sheik's withdrawal of support for a cease-fire by his adherents in Egypt.  Stewart argued that her conduct was part of her representation of a client and not an effort to support terrorism.  The case has been widely followed by defense lawyers, especially in light of post-9/11 efforts by the Department of Justice to combat terrorism. An AP story (here) discusses the case.  Co-editor Ellen Podgor raises the following points: What message will this verdict send to the defense bar? Most likely the government would like it to be - watch what you do with your clients; because we are watching you!  But perhaps this verdict will send another message.  That message might be, avoid signing a SAM (Special Administrator Matter) Order because this means the government might be listening to your conversation.  Will this conviction possibly curtail the proper representation of clients by defense counsel? (ph)

Addendum -  The National Lawyers Guild issued a press release  that  "condemns [the] verdict in Lynne Stewart trial," but "urges defense attorneys to continue representing unpopular clients."   (esp)

Defense Counsel, Prosecutions | Permalink

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