RECOMMENDED READING: Holy Land Mistrial: Judging A Designated Terrorist Entity


Washington Institute scholar and ex-FBI analyst Matthew Leavitt has written an article which provides some perspective about the recent developments in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing case. In October, the judge in the case declared a mistrial after jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict. on the Foundation which was supported by the U.s. Muslim Brotherhood. As Leavitt notes, defenders of Holy Land have been trying to portray the decision as a victory:

The defendants and their supporters immediately trumpeted the verdict, claiming their innocence and arguing that the foundation’s 2001 terrorist designation must be similarly flawed. Many other critics have also pounced on the outcome, charging the government with overreaching in a manner similar to other “failed” terrorism financing prosecutions. Although the mistrial was a major setback for the government, it was hardly the victory depicted by the defendants (who all remain under a standing indictment and are likely to be retried), and it will not affect Washington’s previous blacklisting of the foundation.

Leavitt goes on to examine his reasons for concluding that Holy Land will continue to be blacklisted as well as examining the governments mixed record in prosecuting terrorism cases. He concludes that the Holy Land mistrial was a setback not an exoneration:

Without a doubt, terrorism financing cases are difficult to prosecute. But the failure of the Dallas jury to reach a decision on HLF the first time around is no exoneration — it is simply an initial setback in an ongoing case. The prospect of a retrial should make the defendants very nervous, given the extensive evidence indicating that the foundation’s leadership was well aware it was funding Hamas charities. And whatever the outcome of the next round of court proceedings, the foundation’s terrorist designation will continue to stand.

It should be added that another positive outcome of the trial has been the release of a mountain of documents revealing the previously hidden internal structure of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.

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