High-Stakes Trial Is Set Against Alleged Hamas Arm

By JOSH GERSTEIN, Staff Reporter of the Sun | September 15, 2008

Prosecutors are set today to take a second run at convicting officers of a Texas-based charity that the government contends was a Hamas beachhead in America, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development.

Jury selection in the case against five former Holy Land officials and fund-raisers is set to get under way this morning in federal court in Dallas. The first trial, last year, ended in a muddle of partial acquittals and mistrials when jurors could not reach clear verdicts after hearing two months of witness testimony and conducting almost a month of deliberations.

The failure to win any convictions in a prosecution that had been publicly trumpeted by top Justice Department officials was a high-profile blow to the Bush administration’s legal strategy against alleged fund-raising in America by terrorist groups abroad. The earlier disappointment only raises the stakes for the new trial, according to legal analysts.

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