The Politico blog is reporting that in a secret ruling, a U.S. judge has denied a request by three U.S. Muslim Brotherhood organizations to reverse their designation as unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Terrorism financing case. According to the report:
In a secret court ruling earlier this year, a judge denied a request by three prominent American Muslim organizations to reverse federal prosecutors’ designation of the groups as unindicted co-conspirators in a criminal case alleging illegal support for Hamas, according to a source familiar with the ruling and to indications in court files. However, according to the source, Judge Jorge Solis of Dallas criticized prosecutors for publicly filing the co-conspirators list, which named the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North America, and the North American Islamic Trust. “The ruling was ambiguous,” the source said. “The judge acknowledged the way the whole thing was handled by the prosecutors was not appropriate. On the other hand, he did not really go ahead and reverse the decisions.” Prosecutors filed the list of about 300 individuals and organizations in 2007 as the government prepared for a trial against the Holy Land Foundation and five of its officers. Prosecutors said the three major Islamic groups had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, an international Muslim movement which gave rise to Hamas, which has been designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. since 1995. CAIR, ISNA and NAIT bitterly objected to the “co-conspirator” label, complaining that they had no ties to terrorism and that they had been unfairly smeared. In motions filed with the federal court in Texas, the groups noted that since they had not been charged as defendants in the case they had no obvious forum in which to clear their names. The organizations also argued that the public filing of the list violated Justice Department guidelines which say such documents should be filed under seal. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Dallas, Kathy Colvin, had no comment on Solis’s ruling. However, in earlier court filings, prosecutors said the unindicted co-conspirator designations were supported by evidence and were needed to permit the admission of important evidence in the Holy Land Foundation case. The government also argued that the groups’ reputations would have been sullied by the Holy Land evidence, even if no list was filed. Until last week, Solis ruling on the conspirator-list issue was not even recorded on the court’s public docket. When POLITICO called last week to inquire about the decision, a clerk said it was “sealed, sealed, sealed.” However, on Wednesday, a notation was added to the docket that acknowledges Solis handed down a secret ruling on the matter on July 1.