Thursday, August 30, 2007

Tom Scott in the house....

Ken Jenne has put together quite a legal team. His lawyer is well-respected David Bogenschutz . BSO is represented by former U.S. Attorney Guy Lewis and Michael Tein. And now, Jenne has added former U.S. Attorney Tom Scott (pictured here on the left by the Miami Herald, Bogenschutz on the right, and Jenne bottom left insert; article here).

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Don't these guys look alike?

SDFLA criminal stats

The numbers are in. Criminal prosecutions are up 10% from last year, but still down significantly from 9-11. Vanessa Blum reports on the stats here:

At the current rate, the number of prosecutions in 2007 will be down roughly 12 percent from 2002, according to data analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a research organization affiliated with Syracuse University.

Federal prosecutors in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit and Boston areas have seen even larger decreases in criminal filings over that period.

In this region, covering Broward, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and six other counties, the number of drug cases has fallen dramatically, sliding from 1,461 in 2002 to 883 in 2006, according to the Syracuse group. As of April 2007, the seventh month of the fiscal year, prosecutors had filed roughly 580 drug-related cases, on track to surpass the 2006 figure but well below the 2001 prosecutions.

U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta: "When resources become limited, you have to prioritize." He added that the office is on its way to a record year for prosecutions targeting gang crime, illegal guns and health care fraud.The number of immigration cases is also rising, from about 300 in 2002 to 500 expected in 2007.


The WSJ blog has a story about Alberto Gonzales's resignation letter, which has a major grammatical mistake:

It has always been my honor to serve at your pleasure. After much thought and consideration, I believe this is the right time for my family and I to begin a new chapter in our lives.

From the WSJ:

The mistake: “My family and I” should be “my family and me.” WSJ Supreme Court reporter Jess Bravin, who first pointed out Gonzo’s error to us yesterday afternoon, suspects it privately will delight the attorney general’s critics, who snicker at the sloppy way Gonzales ended his tenure. Such errors may be common in everyday speech, but perhaps they don’t belong in carefully deliberated public letters from cabinet officers to the president. So, Law Blog readers, what does Gonzales’s grammatical lapse symbolize: slipping of standards at DOJ, a rare common touch in official Washington, or, well, just a negligible gaffe?

How embarrassing!

Maybe Rumpole is A.G., as he often makes similar grammar gaffes on his blog...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Traffic on US1

This was the truck in front of me this morning... I snapped the picture with my phone because I couldn't believe the guy was sleeping like that.
Gotta love Miami.
For a cool picture series on Miami, check out this Flickr page. That photographer recently took some pictures of a person on South Beach and StuckonthePalmetto blog is asking whether it's a man or a woman. You decide.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Bored with the news of the AG resigning?

Sick of the round the clock coverage of Michael Vick?

Then, you must read this NY Times article about AbovetheLaw blogger David Lat and his run-in with Nixon Peabody over a video he uploaded to YouTube. YouTube took it down because Nixon Peabody complained, but here is the song at issue And better yet, here is a great video mocking Nixon Peabody:

"After 30 years, judge working hard until ‘they carry me out’"

There is also a five part video series from the interview, with Part I here. It's a little hard to hear Hoeveler but if you turn your volume up, it's definitely worth watching. It's pretty rare to get a judge on the record like this, so it's fascinating...

Here are some of the Q&As from the article:

Do you regret speaking out about the Everglades case?
That needed to be said. I was disturbed that our settlement and order pursuant to that was torpedoed by the Legislature after just a few days. And the lobbyists’ role in the matter didn’t please me either. But [Chief Judge Federico A. Moreno] has the case now, and he’s a fine judge. He’ll do well with it. But I probably spoke out too much.

Do you consider yourself an environmentalist?
Yes. The environment and the Everglades are one of my favorite causes. I take environmental positions when they are correct and don’t when they are not.

What other causes are you passionate about?
The First Amendment. I’ve had several important First Amendment cases. I feel extremely strongly about the right to speak out. The First Amendment is an extremely important area. I’m a Constitution lover. I’m distressed at what is happening now to the Fourth Amendment [right to due process]. It is being chipped away … the right to privacy. But I better not say anything more about that, some cases might come before me.

Do you regret any of your rulings?
No. I’m comfortable with all my rulings.

How has the bench changed since you first arrived?
In the ’70s, we handled a lot of drug cases. Also, our bench has grown much larger. We had six or seven judges then, now we have 16 or 18. We’re getting more civil cases now because we have more judges.

Has the quality of lawyering before you changed any over the years?
Not much. They have excellent career prosecutors at the U.S. attorney’s office and lots of new young lawyers who are good. Both prosecution and defense are pretty high quality here.

Who are the best trial lawyers you’ve seen in action?
Roy Black, Albert Krieger, Pat Sullivan, Dick Gregorie, Neal Sonnett.

We hear a lot about activist judges. Do you believe there are activist judges?
I read a lot that there are. But I don’t think there are. They don’t please everybody. [He reads a passage from his well-worn copy of the book “The Imitation of Christ,” a 15th century Christian spiritual book.] “And he that neither coveteth to please men nor feareth to displease them, shall enjoy much peace. From inordinate love and vain fear ariseth all disquietness of heart and distraction of the thoughts.” All judges should follow that.

Have you ever received a death threat?
Once. I received a phone call at my house threatening me from someone when I was hearing the Omega 7 case in 1984. [The case involved an anti-Fidel Castro group accused of bombing the Venezuelan and Mexican consulates]. For two weeks, we had marshals around the clock. I don’t know how they got my home phone number because it’s not listed.

Were you afraid?
My wife was moved by it.

What was your hardest decision on the bench?
The rock mining case. But I can’t get into it because it’s on appeal.

Who are your heroes?
Former Chief Judge Clyde Atkins. 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Peter Fay. My contemporary judges are all my heroes, and some of the newer ones. Dwight Eisenhower. Jimmy Carter. He wasn’t that well-thought of but I thought he was a good and honest man. The writer Thomas Merton.

What about John F. Kennedy?
I didn’t like him. He played around too much.

Do you pray? [Hoeveler is a devout Episcopalian].
I pray every day. I pray before I rule.

Do you have any hobbies?
My hobby is my wife, Christine. We married three years ago. She was my physical therapist.

What are you most proud of in your career?
I’m proud of being a federal judge and doing what I think is right. Maybe I was wrong sometimes, but I have no regrets.

How long do you plan to keep working?
I’ll continue to work until they carry me out.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Noriega va en France

“This court never intended for the proclamation of defendant as a P.O.W. to shield him from all future prosecutions for serious crimes he is alleged to have committed,” Judge William Hoeveler said in his 12-page ruling, sending Manuel Noriega to France. “That being said, even the most vile offender is entitled to the same protections as those owed to a law-abiding soldier once they have been declared a P.O.W. It appears that the extradition proceedings should proceed uninterrupted.”

The NY Times reports on the case here:

Mr. Noriega was convicted in absentia in France in 1999 and sentenced to 10 years in prison for laundering more than $3 million in drug proceeds. France has agreed to hold a new trial if Mr. Noriega is extradited.
Mr. Noriega also faces legal jeopardy at home in Panama, where he was convicted in absentia of embezzlement, corruption and murdering political opponents. Although Mr. Noriega faces up to 60 years in prison for those charges, Panamanian law allows older convicts to serve prison time at home and Mr. Noriega’s Panamanian lawyers have expressed confidence they can beat the charges there and keep him out of jail.
Mr. Hoeveler, who presided over Mr. Noriega’s criminal trial in Miami, ruled that Mr. Noriega’s status as a prisoner of war does not prevent him from future prosecution.


Mr. Noriega may still appeal the ruling, which will keep him in U.S. custody for some weeks or months. Frank Rubino, Mr. Noriega’s Miami-based attorney, said he was disappointed by the ruling and would decide in the next week whether to challenge it in the United States Court of Appeals 11th Circuit or with the United Nations.

Jose Padilla jury speaks

Fascinating story below from Jay Weaver about the jury deliberations in Padilla.
Apparently, it was a very close case on Padilla and it came down to one phone call. Five months in trial and the case came down to one call. Amazing.
Check it out:
--David Oscar Markus

Thursday, August 23, 2007

On the road again

Headed to the District of DC today. Blogging on hold for a bit.
--David Oscar Markus

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

"Your honor, I am an innocent man, I have been wrongly convicted."

That was Kenneth Wilk before he was sentenced to life in prison (by Judge Cohn) for killing Officer Todd Fatta. Here's the Sun-Sentinel article about the sentencing.

Michael Vick

There are whispers that Virginia may pursue state charges against Michael Vick for dogfighting. Professor Berman asks whether this is fair. It's a good question and one that comes up in this District from time to time. It seems to me that once one sovereign or the other resolves a criminal case, that should be it. I understand that the double jeopardy clause has been interpreted to allow separate prosecutions by the state and the federal governments, but does this really make sense? This is one of those areas of the law that makes absolutely no sense to most lawyers and to the general public. Any thoughts from SDFLA readers?

And if you are looking for some Vick humor, here is David Letterman's top ten Michael Vick excuses.

If you are looking for some Miami humor, Rumpole is in good form today...

Monday, August 20, 2007

Cuban Spies go to Atlanta

While most of Atlanta was focused on Michael Vick today, the 11th Circuit heard a spirited oral argument (the third argument in this case) in the Cuban Spy case. According to this AP account, there was a line out the door to see the argument:

Dozens of people lined up outside the Atlanta courthouse more than two hours before the arguments began to watch the latest chapter of the decade-long saga unfold.

Pictured is defense lawyer Brenda Bryn and Richard Klugh. To her left is AUSA Caroline Heck Miller. The picture is from the AP's Richard Miller. Here's the background on the case:

The "Cuban Five" have been lionized as heroes in Cuba, while exile groups say they were justly punished.
Castro's government sent Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino, Rene Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando Gonzalez to South Florida to gather information about anti-communist exile groups and send it back to the island using encrypted software, high-frequency radio transmissions and coded electronic phone messages.
The five were convicted of being unregistered foreign agents, and three were found guilty of espionage conspiracy for failed efforts to obtain military secrets. Hernandez was also convicted of murder conspiracy in the deaths of four Miami-based pilots whose small, private planes were shot down in February 1996 by a Cuban MiG in international waters off Cuba's northern coast.
They were sentenced to terms ranging from 10 years to life in December 2001, but the case has ping-ponged through the court system the last six years due to a round of appeals.
In August 2005, a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta tossed the verdicts, saying the five didn't receive a fair trial because of anti-Castro bias in Miami. But the convictions were reinstated exactly a year later by the full 11th Circuit.
Monday's arguments before another three-judge panel of the court offered the five their latest shot at freedom.

Richard Klugh for the defense:
Defense attorney Richard Klugh focused his arguments on Guerrero, who was accused of sending detailed reports on the Naval Air Station at Key West. He said his client could have used public information _ not clandestine espionage _ to piece together the reports.
"An enterprising reporter could have obtained the same info that Antonio Guerrero obtained on that base," Klugh said. "He's doing a life sentence for something that could have been published in the Miami Herald."

And Brenda Bryn followed, saying that "prosecutors breached 12 different categories of misconduct that 'have never before been identified in one case.' She said the law demands the court reopen the case based on the "flagrancy" of the misconduct, noting that 28 of 34 objections lodged against prosecutors during closing arguments were sustained."
AUSA Caroline Heck Miller responded:

"Red baiting. Communism. Your Honor, that was not the record of this case," Miller said. "It was a soberly tried case."

On the road

I'm in the middle district today. Blogging to continue when I return.

--David Oscar Markus

Friday, August 17, 2007

"You don't have to be crazy to be a criminal defense lawyer in this town- but it helps!!!!"

Jack Blumenfeld, a long-time criminal defense lawyer in Miami, who has represented Jose Battle, Sr. and one of the "Cuban spies", emailed us last night regarding the Padilla verdict and how criminal defense lawyers suffer from disease where you convince yourself that you have a shot at a NG verdict in impossible cases. With permission, we reprint his email here:

If you want to talk to some lawyers to get an idea what the defense is going through, talk to [the Cuban Spy lawyers] about the effect on us when the Cuban Spy jury came back with guilty verdicts. We may have been the only 5 people in Dade County who thought that we could win a NG for Cuban spies in Miami- and that included the defendants, all 5 of whom knew what the outcome would be. I think judge Lenard saw the devastation on our faces, as she cleared the courtroom and had the doors locked, so we could partially recover. Ironically, the defendants were consoling the lawyers. I was in a daze for a week.

These people will go through the same thing. It happens when you ABSOLUTELY know you won the trial but lost the verdict. Cuban Spies- Alleged AQ members- and we all fought our hearts out for a NG- doesn't that make you feel great you chose criminal defense? You don't have to be crazy to be a criminal defense lawyer in this town- but it helps!!!!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Jose Padilla verdicts

Well, there will now be a bunch of articles from the MSM about the verdict (with the scripts depending on what side you're on).

Here is what I saw in the courtroom and my initial reaction:

1. Court security officers were insufferable. It was almost impossible to get into the courtroom. This is the biggest trial and verdict in the country right now and you can barely get in the courthouse! Silly.

2. The media is not permitted to have cell phones with them in the courtroom. After the verdicts were read, no one was allowed out of the courtroom for a couple minutes. I don't know how CNN and the AP got the articles up so quickly. It's a neat trick.

3. My cell phone crashed with all the people text messaging me and emailing me to post the verdicts. So my post was a couple minutes late, after my phone rebooted!

4. The defense lawyers' voices were all cracking as they asked for more time to file post-trial motions. I feel so bad for them right now. To put your life into a case for years and to have a 5 month trial and then to have the verdict so quickly is horrible. My heart goes out to these lawyers...

5. Sentencing is set for December 5. The defendants will be interviewed by the probation office, who will prepare a presentence investigation report for the judge. It will detail the defendants' history and the guideline ranges. Based on the verdicts, I believe the guideline range is life.

6. The appellate process. The defense has some interesting issues, which I will detail in another post. This will take time -- about a year after sentencing. We're looking at late 2008 or early 2009.

7. The government. Congratulations to the government lawyers. They fought hard and won and deserve credit for their victory. After the verdicts were read, they all shook hands and walked out of the courthouse through the back entrance to avoid the press. I'm sure DOJ will have a press conference later, but these trial lawyers deserve the credit.

8. Judge Cooke and her chambers. I'm sure they are thrilled to have this trial behind them. Oftentimes, we all forget how hard the court personnel work on these trials. Congrats to them. Go have a beer...

all defendants guilty on all counts

Padilla guilty on all counts.

In the courtroom

No verdict yet.
Buzz in the air.
Packed courtroom.
I was lucky to get in.
Stay tuned.
--David Oscar Markus

Liveblogging Padilla verdict

Check in at 2PM.

--David Oscar Markus

Padilla verdict in

To be announced at 2PM!!

--David Oscar Markus

Fair settlement?

$1.6 million to the attorneys; a pair of socks to the class members. Hmmmmm. Fair?

Mike Tein (of Lewis Tein) and a bunch of attorneys general say no way.

Judge Altonaga will hear the dispute in the Sharper Image Ion Purifier class action case today. Here's Julie Kay on the case.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Michael Caruso closes for Jose Padilla

I wasn't able to attend the closing arguments today, but reports back tell me that Padilla's lawyer, Michael Caruso, was incredible.

The initial AP coverage here.

I like the strong start:

"For five years, Jose Padilla has waited for this day," defense attorney Michael Caruso told jurors. "The day we could stand before you and ask for justice."

Then jabbing the government, while trying to humanize Padilla:

Some of his argument was delivered in front of a large screen featuring bright pictures of a smiling Padilla with two of his children, in stark contrast to the dark photo used by prosecutors of Padilla wearing a traditional Arab headdress.
Padilla's mother, Estela Lebron, looked on from a back row in the courtroom.
"They picked this picture to scare you, to instill fear," Caruso said.

And the theme, simple but strong:

"His intent was to study, not to murder," Caruso said.

What about the form:

The critical piece of physical evidence is a "mujahedeen data form" Padilla allegedly filled out in July 2000 to attend an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan. The form bears seven of Padilla's fingerprints, but Caruso said they are only found on the first page and the back of the final page - consistent with Padilla simply handling the form, rather than writing on it.
"It raises more questions than answers," Caruso said.

Similar defenses from the co-defendants' lawyers:

"Dr. Jayyousi wasn't buying bullets. Dr. Jayyousi wasn't buying ammunition. Dr. Jayyousi wasn't sending fighters over there," Swor said. "Dr. Jayyousi was providing relief."
Similar arguments were made Monday by lawyers for Hassoun, a Palestinian born in Lebanon who overstayed his U.S. visa and could be deported if found innocent or after his release from prison.
"Their passion was relief," Hassoun lawyer Kenneth Swartz said.

Now it's in the jury's hands. This is the worst time for trial lawyers, no? As soon as there is a verdict, we'll let you know.

BTW, what's with good reporters still referring to Padilla's lawyer as Andy Patel? He hasn't been Padilla's lawyer in a long time...

UPDATE -- more from Caruso's closing via the NYTimes and Reuters.

The challenge is issued:

“I defy the government to somehow argue that Jose had the intent to commit cold-blooded murder,” Mr. Caruso said.

It was important throughout the trial to distance Padilla from the other two defendants:

On Tuesday, Mr. Caruso sought to disassociate Mr. Padilla from the other defendants. The government secretly recorded thousands of their phone conversations from 1993 to 2001.
Mr. Padilla participated in seven wiretapped conversations presented at trial.
Prosecutors say Mr. Hassoun and Mr. Jayyousi used code words like “football” and “zucchini” to discuss plans to help violent jihad in places like Chechnya, Kosovo and Somalia. But, Mr. Caruso reminded jurors, they never said Mr. Padilla used such code.
Mr. Caruso also made a point of contrasting Mr. Padilla with the other defendants, emphasizing that he was younger, had less education and was a recent convert to Islam who did not speak fluent Arabic.
He even described Mr. Padilla as “slow” and reminded the jury that Mr. Padilla had worked at a Chicken Plus fast-food restaurant in Broward County before leaving for Egypt.
“These men are more different than they are alike,” Mr. Caruso said.

More re the form:

He conceded that seven of Mr. Padilla’s fingerprints were on the document, which the C.I.A. recovered in Afghanistan in 2001. But the fingerprints are on just the first page and the back of the last page, suggesting, Mr. Caruso said, that Mr. Padilla had merely handled the form, and had not filled it out.
He also pointed out that a palm print was found next to the signature line on the form, but that the government never requested Mr. Padilla’s palm print to see whether it matched.
“They were not trying to find the truth,” Mr. Caruso said. “They were trying to create a case.”

And finally, don't convict because of security:

"We don't achieve security by bringing these types of charges on this type of evidence."

Monday, August 13, 2007

"Padilla was the star recruit of a terrorist support cell and he was discovered right in our backyard.''

That was AUSA Brian Frazier describing Jose Padilla in his closing argument. Interesting way to put it -- "star recruit"; discovered in "our backyard." I didn't hear the closing, but these are terms that jurors relate to and are very easily understood...

Frazier, of course, hammered the application form and repeated al Qaida as much as he could:

"You are already inside the al-Qaida organization when you get this form to fill out," Frazier told jurors. "He provided himself to al-Qaida for training to learn how to murder, kidnap and maim."

Here's the Herald, the Sun-Sentinel, and the AP on the government's closings.

Michael Caruso for Jose Padilla responds tomorrow.

Final arguments in Manuel Noriega

To be extradited to France or to go back home to Panama; that's the question for Judge Hoeveler.

Jose Padilla closing arguments...

...are underway.

The Government is up first, followed by Adham Hassoun.

Tomorrow will be Kifah Wael Jayyousi and then Jose Padilla. The Government will finish up with rebuttal.

Judge Cooke has decided to read the jury instructions before closing argument. I've had this done a couple times and don't really have a preference... Any thoughts on whether this is a good or bad thing? Does it matter?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

"Federal Judge Accused of Religious Bias"

The federal judge referred to in the headline for this DBR article (which is going to be published Monday) is William Zloch:

Fort Lauderdale, Fla., attorney Loring Spolter is accusing U.S. District Judge William Zloch of bias in two employment discrimination cases, citing his deep religious beliefs, and wants the judge removed from the cases.

In a 110-page motion for recusal filed last month, Spolter cited Zloch's hiring of several law clerks from Ave Maria Law School, a donation to the Roman Catholic school and his attendance at several junkets for judges sponsored by conservative organizations.

I've had trials and a number of contested hearings in front of the former Chief Judge and have always found him to be fair and impartial. Definitely a no-nonsense judge, which is good. I think he lets both sides try their case. No complaints here...

To cite where a judge hires law clerks is just ridiculous. This motion will go nowhere.

Friday, August 10, 2007

News and Notes

1. Poor Monkey (Sun-Sentinel).

2. Our chief would never do this (WSJ Blog).

3. Jury instructions in Padilla almost finalized (AP).

4. Cop sues in federal court (DBR).

5. Sy's funeral. (Rumpole)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Water cooler talk

Forget about 756, everyone is talking about yesterday's 3rd DCA's opinion re Adorno Yoss.

From the concurrence by former AUSA (we had to have a SDFLA connection somewhere!) Angel Cortinas:

Plainly and simply, this was a scheme to defraud. It was a case of unchecked avarice coupled with a total absence of shame on the part of the original lawyers. The attorneys manipulated the legal system for their own pecuniary gain and acted against their clients’ interests by attempting to deprive them of monies to which they might otherwise be entitled. More unethical and reprehensible behavior by attorneys against their own clients is difficult to imagine.


Here's the opinion.

Here's the coverage in the DBR, the Herald, and the WSJ blog.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Padilla update

The government has rested after a short rebuttal. The rest of the week is legal issues without the jury. Closing arguments Monday and Tuesday next week.

Very sad day...


If you didn't know Sy because you don't get over to state court, you missed out. This man is a legend and embodied the Metro Justice Building. What a loss.

Govt rebuttal in Padilla trial to start today

And closing arguments will start Monday the 13th!

Now when will we get a verdict? Any guesses on how long the jury will be out? The over/under is Friday the 17th at 5PM.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Executive branch vs. Judicial branch

The Louis Robles case has pitted prosecutors against the judiciary. The government and the defense had worked out a deal for Robles -- 10 years in prison plus restitution -- and that deal had the blessing of the receiver and almost all of the victims.

Judge Gold, however, won't accept the deal, saying it's too lenient. The government recently filed a 16 page motion for reconsideration explaining why the plea made sense. Judge Gold denied that motion, which now leaves the government with two choices. It can try a case that neither party wants to try. Or it can dismiss the counts that carry more than a 10 year maximum, leaving Judge Gold with no choice but to sentence Robles to 10 years, even after a trial.

Oftentimes, defense lawyers complain that sentencing is driven by prosecutors and that it should be left to judges to sentence, not executive officers. In this case, prosecutorial discretion is important in capping the sentence.

Any thoughts on what the U.S. Attorney's office should do? Should they defer to the judge or stand up for their position?

Here are previous posts on the Robles case. Our initial coverage of the issue is here. The DBR covers the story today but there is no free link yet.

Battle dead

The intro to the Miami Herald obit:

Jose Miguel Battle Sr., former godfather of the Cuban mob, died in federal custody at a dialysis facility in South Carolina, his attorney confirmed to The Miami Herald late Sunday. He was 77.
Battle, who had been suffering from liver failure, diabetes and cardiac problems, was awaiting a spot in federal prison to serve out his 20-year sentence on racketeering charges, attorney Jack Blumenfeld said. He died Friday morning.
''He was in a private place, an assisted-living facility,'' said Blumenfeld, Battle's attorney since 1978. ``He was sick for a long time.''

Battle was in the middle of an estimated year long trial in front of Judge Gold when he pleaded guilty. He was allowed to remain out on bond so that he could die at home instead of in jail. His health was so bad during the trial that he slept in a recliner chair throughout most of the day.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Go, Dore, Go!

As the Padilla trial winds down, we're happy to post another installment of Go, Dore, Go!

From all accounts, it was a good day for Kifah Wael Jayyousi in court yesterday. From the AP:

The testimony by Erol Bulur was aimed at bolstering claims by Padilla co-defendant Kifah Wael Jayyousi that his group, American Worldwide Relief, was focused on providing humanitarian aid to oppressed Muslims around the globe and not on assisting Islamic extremist warriors.
Bulur ran a warehouse in Paterson, New Jersey, that received and dispatched four large shipping containers containing about 25,000 pounds (11,340 kilograms) each of supplies to Chechen refugees in 1995 and 1996. Jurors were shown a video of the warehouse, including boxes of goods labeled "AWR" for Jayyousi's San Diego-based organization.
"These were shipments coming in from around the country?" asked Jayyousi attorney Marshall Dore Louis.
"Yes," the Turkish-born Bulur replied.

The testimony provided a counterpoint to prosecution witnesses and FBI wiretap intercepts that implicate Jayyousi and Adham Amin Hassoun, both 45, in a worldwide support network for Islamic jihadist groups, including al-Qaida. Hassoun allegedly recruited Padilla, 36, to become a mujahedeen fighter while both attended a mosque in Sunrise, Florida.

And the Miami Herald had an article, titled: "Witness for Padilla presents strong testimony":

With the end of the trial near, a defense team in the Jose Padilla terror case put on its strongest witness Thursday, when he testified that a suspected front for terrorists was actually a legitimate Islamic relief group.
Erol Bulur testified that he used his New Jersey warehouse to store tens of thousands of pounds of used clothes, canned foods and medicine donated by American Worldwide Relief, an organization run by a defendant in the Padilla trial.
Bulur said in Miami federal court that the relief group's efforts accounted for as much as two-thirds of all the supplies that he shipped from his warehouse through Turkey to Chechnya's embattled Muslims in 1995 and 1996.
''A lot more than two or three boxes were sent by American Worldwide Relief,'' said the Turkish-born Bulur [in response to direct questioning by Dore Louis], rebutting a prosecutor's attempt to downplay the group's significant humanitarian role in the Chechen conflict. Indeed, jurors were shown video of Bulur's warehouse and 40-foot cargo containers.
His testimony was powerful because it called into question a central theme in the U.S. government's case: that defendant Kifah Wael Jayyousi, a leader of American Worldwide Relief, used the group as a front to provide money, equipment and other supplies to Islamic terrorists overseas.

Next week, we get to the prosecution's rebuttal case. Here's the Sun-Sentinel discussing the Padilla strategy of not calling any witnesses.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Hugget's office manager charged

From the Daily Business Review:

Since the sudden death of Miami maritime attorney William Huggett three years ago, his widow has been fighting his former staff for taking all her husband's cases to a newly formed law firm and charging her $739,000 for bonuses and vacation pay.

In a stunning twist, a federal grand jury in Miami indicted Sara San Martin, Huggett's former office manager and bookkeeper, in June for allegedly writing fraudulent checks on Huggett's accounts to pay off her mortgage and a truck loan. San Martin was charged with bank fraud and faces a possible sentence of 30 years in prison.

She retained Miami attorney Brian Tannebaum this week.

Here's the Indictment and Amended Complaint.

Another fashionable lawyer

We highlighted the Herald's coverage about fashionable Carolyn Kellman a while back.

Another lawyer is now profiled for his fashion, Brian James (pictured left from the Herald article). From the article:
Residence: Belle Meade in Miami's Upper East Side
Haunts: I usually shop at traditional places like Macy's simply because it's easy when everything is under one roof.
Passion du jour: I am passionate about traveling. I like going all over the world and I always seem to take notice of the cultural differences with regards to fashion.
His look: A little preppy but definitely still unique.
What influences his choices: I've come to realize that my wife was a big influence in my fashion. When I met her I only wore black, and over time she's really turned me into this man that you see, full of color, eclectic, mix-matched and funky. Even when I'm working and have to wear my suits I make sure that my choices of shirt and tie show my individuality.
From his firm site:
Brian T. James concentrates his practice on representing individuals and corporations in controversies with federal, state and local regulatory and law enforcement agencies. As a former judicial intern with the Honorable Judge Donald L. Graham, Southern District of Florida, and a former certified legal intern with the Dade County Public Defender’s Office, Mr. James has experience with both Federal and State courts. Mr. James also served as an Internal Compliance Auditor for a Florida state bank where he advised on the areas of mandatory and voluntary compliance regulations within the banking industry.

While at the University of Miami School of Law, Mr. James served on the managing board of the Business Law Review, as vice-president of the Moot Court Board and as Chief Justice of the Student Bar Association's Supreme Court. He also was awarded "Best Appellate Brief" and "Most Rounded Competitor" in the 1999/2000 Oral Argument Competition.
Mr. James is a member of The Florida Bar, the Dade and Broward County Bar Associations, the Black Lawyers Association, and the Caribbean Bar Association. His community and civic activities include serving as vice president to the board of trustees for the Playground Theatre for Young Audiences, Inc., board member of the Arts and Business Council of Miami, as well as a volunteer in many organizations including the United Way, the Community Partnership for the Homeless and Habitat for Humanity.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Padilla trial wrapping up

The defense case will conclude by this Friday. Jose Padilla's lawyers said they will not be presenting any witnesses. That means the Government rebuttal case is next week and closing arguments will be the week of the 13th.