Monday, March 27, 2006

See no evil

Another fight brewing in the Padilla case -- this time over what evidence should be turned over to the defense. Here's the intro to Dan Cordtz's DBR article:

U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke in Miami is expected Tuesday to consider an unusual motion by prosecutors in the terrorism case against Jose Padilla and two of his alleged accomplices to prevent the defendants from seeing classified information the government may use against them.

Although a government spokeswoman declined comment, defense attorneys said the motion shows that prosecutors plan to use classified materials in the upcoming trial of Padilla, Adham Amin Hassoun and Kifah Wael Jayyousi and wants to prevent the defendants from seeing such evidence. The trial is now scheduled for September.

Such restrictions, said Miami solo practitioner Kenneth M. Swartz, counsel for Hassoun, “would be a big problem. A defense attorney has to be able to share information with his client in order to mount an effective defense. We will have to put up a fight about it.”

The three men, along with two others who are not in custody, are charged with conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim persons in a foreign country and with providing material support to terrorists.

In his motion, filed last month, Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell R. Killinger invoked the federal Classified Information Procedures Act.

“In conducting its investigation of the criminal activities of the defendants, as well as in preparation to meet its discovery obligations, the government has concluded that there is classified material in various milieu, including written documents, which items may be relevant to this case and which are classified as ‘Secret’ or ‘Confidential,’ ” wrote assistant U.S. attorney Russell R. Killinger. “Some of this classified information is the property of foreign governments.”

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