Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Lynne Stewart Receives 28-Month Prison Term

Civil rights lawyer Lynne Stewart received a 28-month prison term for her convictions in 2005 for helping her client, an Egyptian sheik convicted of terrorist plots in 1995, communicate with his followers.  The government sought the maximum sentence of thirty years, but U.S. District Judge John Koeltl found that Stewart had championed the poor in her long career and had lost her law license after the conviction as grounds for imposing a significantly lower sentence.  One of her co-defendants who assisted in smuggling the messages out of prison received a twenty-month term instead of the twenty years the government sought, while a second co-defendant received a 24-year prison term based on his direct contact with terrorists overseas, again short of the government's recommended life term.  Stewart will remain free on bail pending her appeal, and given the disparity between the U.S. Attorney's Office's recommendations, largely based on the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, and Judge Koeltl's sentences, a cross-appeal of the sentences by the government is very likely.  A New York Times story (here) discusses the sentencing. (ph)


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