Friday, February 11, 2005
On this day:

Aiding and Comforting the Enemy

NY Times: Lawyer Is Guilty of Aiding Terror By JULIA PRESTON
In a startlingly sweeping verdict, Ms. [Lynne] Stewart was convicted on all five counts of providing material aid to terrorism and of lying to the government when she pledged to obey federal rules that barred her client, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, from communicating with his followers. Her co-defendants, Ahmed Abdel Sattar and Mohamed Yousry, were also convicted of all the charges against them. [...] Afterward, Ms. Stewart said she was stunned and vowed to appeal the verdict. She called the trial a government assault on the practice of law. "I see myself as being a symbol of what people rail against when they say our civil liberties are eroded," she said to a small cluster of her supporters outside the federal district courthouse. "I hope this will be a wake-up call to all the citizens of this country, that you can't lock up the lawyers, you can't tell the lawyers how to do their jobs." "I will fight on, I'm not giving up," she promised defiantly. "I know I committed no crime. I know what I did was right." But then her voice wavered and tears came to her eyes. Ms. Stewart, who is 65, faces up to 30 years in jail. The judge, John G. Koeltl, set her sentencing for July 15. Because she was convicted of a felony, she will be immediately disbarred. She remains free on bail, but cannot travel outside New York State. Although Judge Koeltl reminded the jurors repeatedly that Osama bin Laden and the World Trade Center attacks were not at issue, images of the Qaeda leader and remembrances of the destruction he wrought pervaded the trial, which took place in a courthouse a few blocks from ground zero. Ms. Stewart was convicted on two counts of conspiring to provide material aid to terrorists, by making the views and instructions of Mr. Abdel Rahman available to his followers in the Islamic Group, an organization in Egypt with a history of terrorist violence. She was also convicted of three counts of perjury and defrauding the government for flouting federal prison rules that barred Mr. Abdel Rahman, a blind Islamic cleric, from communicating with anyone outside his federal prison in Minnesota except his lawyers and his wife.
James Taranto at Opinion Journal writes: "The extreme left does seem to have abandoned any idea of creating a socialist utopia; today it is devoted solely to uncreative destruction."