Friday, July 27, 2007

Maintain radio silence

Looks like the Jose Padilla defense is continuing its trial strategy of trying to distance itself from the other two defendants. As the other two mount their defense by presenting witnesses and evidence, Padilla's lawyers are keeping quiet. According to this interesting article by Curt Anderson:

The first week of the defense case in the Jose Padilla terrorism support trial came to a close Friday with Padilla's own lawyers taking virtually no role so far.
"No questions, your honor," said Padilla attorney Anthony Natale, neatly summing up the Padilla defense team's courtroom activity since Monday.
Attorneys for co-defendant Adham Amin Hassoun, who allegedly recruited Padilla for Islamic extremist causes, called four witnesses in the 11th week of testimony in the case. And lawyers for third defendant Kifah Wael Jayyousi actively questioned all four, as did federal prosecutors.

Anderson wonders whether Padilla will present any evidence:

It's been virtual silence from the Padilla corner, and it remains to be seen if Padilla's lawyers will put on any witnesses or ask any questions. Defendants accused of crimes are not legally required to testify or put on any kind of case, with the burden to prove the crimes squarely on the prosecution.
Michael Caruso, one of three federal public defenders representing Padilla, said at the close of the prosecution case that his client deserved acquittal because of lack of evidence. The three defendants are charged with conspiring to murder, kidnap and maim people overseas as part of a North American cell supporting al-Qaida and other Islamic extremist groups around the world.
"There is simply not enough evidence for any reasonable juror to conclude that Mr. Padilla was a willing participant," Caruso said.

We did hear from one interesting witness today regarding co-defendant Adham Hassoun:

For example, Hassoun's father-in-law Mohammed Wannous, 73, came all the way from Helsinki, Finland, to testify for about an hour Friday about one phone conversation he had with Hassoun in 1997. In the call, the two make reference to a Lebanese group, Usbat al-Ansar, that prosecutors say had connections to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
Wannous said his son-in-law was only kidding around when he said on the call that "we are with" that group.
"He was joking with me, as usual," said Wannous, who testified in Arabic through a court translator. "Because I know he didn't belong to any of them."
Prosecutor John Shipley, however, noted that neither man was laughing when they discussed the matter, although they laughed loudly later in the call when talking about family issues.
"You didn't say in the conversation, 'Adham, you are only joking,'" Shipley said.
"He always jokes," Wannous answered.
Like much of the first week of defense testimony, Wannous had nothing to do with Padilla. Testimony resumes next week and is scheduled to continue through much of August.

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