RealNews

Patriot Act key to case against professor

The case of a Palestinian professor charged with helping finance terrorists is expected to test the 2001 Patriot Act and so far the new law is getting some passing grades. During a bond hearing for Sami Al-Arian, his attorney has been unable to challenge much of the prosecution’s evidence and has had to rely primarily on character witnesses. The indictment charges the former University of South Florida computer engineering professor with helping direct the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist organization that targets Israel. The case relies heavily on years of counter-intelligence surveillance wiretaps. The Patriot Act enables prosecutors to use the wiretaps. Attorney Nicholas Matassini lost a motion that would given him access to the tapes before the bond hearing. Then he was denied a motion to prevent the government from using the evidence. “We believe it’s a violation of the Fourth Amendment because it allows the court to issue this surveillance warrants on less than probable cause,” the defense attorney said. Full Story

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