ATTORNEYS ASK TO DIAL BACK SECURITY AT TRIAL FOR 7 TERROR SUSPECTS IN MN, Fears It Will Influence Jury: Argues ISIL Not A Terrorist Group

By all means, lets cut back on security at the trial potentially putting an untold number of Americans at risk in order to ensure 7 suspected terrorists get every advantage our court systems can offer them… 

Attorneys for 7 suspects in FBI case are also seeking lighter security at trial, saying it could influence jury.

Defense attorneys for seven suspects charged with supporting terrorism are arguing that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is not a terrorist organization because it operates a government and regulates services for citizens living under its control in Syria.

In one of several motions filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, the attorneys argued that despite its reputation for brutality, ISIL carries many characteristics of a government that tends to day-to-day business and that therefore criminal charges against the defendants are too broad.

“While the group has adopted harshly violent and repressive tactics, and engages in military and insurgency attacks against the Syrian and Iraqi armies, it has also embarked on a systematic process of civilian governance over the eight to 10 million people with the territory it controls,” attorneys said.

The statutes under which the defendants are charged prohibit providing support under the direction or control of a terrorist group. The attorneys argue that when a terrorist group controls an entire territory, simply being in that country would effectively become, under the current charges, support to the terrorist group. But when services are provided, it’s no longer possible to describe that territory as being part of a terrorist state.

“Mere travel to Syria, or willingness to ‘join’ ISIL, cannot constitutionally be equated with material support. Accordingly, the material support statute is void,” the attorneys argued.

In April, six of the seven defendants in the case were arrested by FBI agents following a 10-month investigation. No trial date has been set. A hearing on motions is scheduled Sept. 2 in front of U.S. District Judge Michael Davis.

Other motions included a request to dial back a heavy security presence at the trial because the attorneys said it could negatively influence a jury. Current hearings have a large contingent of police and Homeland Security officers, and at least one bomb-sniffing dog. Via: Star Tribune

Don’t be surprised if President Bill Clinton appointed Federal Judge Michael Davis goes along with the defense attorney’s request to cut back on security in the courtroom:

judge davis

Judge Davis — who’s handled all of the recent terrorism cases in Minnesota, where a large Somali community has been a target for recruits for the Islamic State group and al-Shabab — takes a nuanced approach. He’s considering pretrial release for some, asking attorneys and the community to create plans that will keep the public safe and steer the young men in a positive direction. As dozens of similar cases proceed nationwide, Davis’ actions could become a model for other courts, or could prove disastrous if he takes a risk on the wrong person.

“I think he’s been able to see that terrorism cases aren’t black and white and there’s a lot of grey in there,” said Anders Folk, a former federal prosecutor in Minnesota who said Davis is among the most experienced judges in the country on the topic.

Davis doesn’t talk about active cases but said during a recent hearing: “This is way too important for us just to treat it as a regular criminal case.”

The first African-American federal judge in Minnesota has a broad, friendly smile that he uses to put jurors, and sometimes defendants, at ease, but he also employs a stare that flusters even the most experienced attorneys. He’s soft-spoken, but can command attention with a big, booming voice. The 68-year-old has no tolerance for disruptions in the courtroom, but is well known for ensuring each person receives equal justice.

Cases like the ones currently in front of Davis — eight young men charged with conspiring to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State group — are challenging for any judge, Folk said. They’re complex and require managing a community that’s emotionally involved and sometimes feels unfairly targeted. Via: Naples Herald


Join The Conversation: Leave a Comment