Friday, December 14, 2007

Hamas-sympathizing juror behind terror mistrial

"May have misled prosecutors during jury selection." More on the Holy Land Foundation jihad terror funding trial's jury bully from (thanks to all who sent this in):
A Hamas-sympathizing juror may have misled U.S. prosecutors about his neutrality during jury selection in the nation's largest terror-financing trial, investigators familiar with the case say.
The juror's "browbeating" of fellow jurors during deliberations in the Holy Land Foundation trial led to a mistrial, they say. The Dallas-based charity and its leaders are accused of funneling more than $12 million to Hamas suicide bombers and their families.

WND has learned that prosecutors, who are preparing to retry the case next year, considered investigating the juror for perjury after hearing complaints from other jurors about his pro-Hamas, anti-Israeli bias and obscenity-laced bullying in the jury room.

"One guy caused all the trouble," said an investigator involved in the case, which charged several U.S. Muslims with conspiracy to support terrorism. "He browbeat other jurors favoring convictions."

He said the bearded 33-year-old juror – who voted not guilty across-the-board – made statements in the past that are at variance with his answers to prosecutors' questions about his bias during the jury selection.

"He clearly wasn't honest on his voir dire examination," the source said.

Voir dire is a pretrial process lawyers use to object to prospective jurors with strong opinions – in this case, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – which might preclude them from weighing the evidence objectively.

Juror William Neal, a Dallas graphic artist, has not tried to hide his opinions on the subject since a mistrial was declared Oct. 22.

His ideological remarks in the media – including suggestions Israeli intelligence officers can't be trusted and their government is guilty of occupying Palestinian lands and oppressing the Palestinian people – have raised alarms at the Justice Department.

Neal also has a hard time calling Hamas a terrorist group, even though the U.S. government has listed it as a terrorist organization for the past dozen years.

He told the Dallas Morning News "it's a political movement. It's an uprising."

Asked by the Investigative Project on Terrorism to clarify his statement about Hamas, Neal said: "It is marked as a terrorist organization. My personal viewpoint, I see it as a political struggle."

"Our country was founded on a terrorist act," he added. "The Boston Tea Party wasn't a tea party, dude. It was a rebellion against the king's wrath. They fought back against an oppressive government."

Terror expert Steven Emerson of the IPT features a video clip of one juror who said, "I was pressured into voting the way they wanted me to vote."

In a recent Dallas radio interview, Neal revealed he actively sought a seat on the jury to sway the verdict against the government. He boasted that he fooled federal prosecutors into believing he would be sympathetic to their case.


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