Weak Case Seen in Failed Trial of Charity

November 4, 2007

Author: Greg Krikorian

Source: The Los Angeles Times

http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-na-holyland4nov04,1,7903830.story

While the U.S. Justice Department ponders how it will retry its troubled terrorism finance case against a now- defunct Muslim charity, debris from the recent mistrial here shows signs of piling up at the White House doorstep.

The nation's biggest terrorism finance case ended so badly for the government that it has thrown into question the Bush administration's original order to shut down the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development six years ago.

Back then, President Bush accused the charity of aiding Palestinian terrorists. But similar allegations presented by federal prosecutors during the two-month trial in the president's home state fell dramatically short of convincing a Texas jury.

The panel of eight women and four men failed to convict Holy Land or any of its five accused former officials on any of their 200 combined criminal counts of supporting terrorists. It was the first time the administration's view of the charity had been argued in court because the original executive order shuttering Holy Land was never subjected to full judicial review.