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Opening Arguments Presented in Holy Land Foundation Retrial

By Bill Zeeble, KERA reporter

Dallas, TX – Opening arguments are set for this morning in the retrial of Holy Land Foundation directors. Federal prosecutors say leaders of the now-closed Muslim charity funneled money to the illegal organization, Hamas. The defendants deny it. KERA's Bill Zeeble reports

Most charges are reduced against two defendants who came close to acquittal last fall, when the judge declared a mistrial. Prosecutors this time have narrowed their focus, according to attorney Jeffrey Kahn, who teaches law at SMU.

Kahn: The government learned that it's better to streamline the case because the case is a complex case involving a long paper trail. And so instead of trying to charge the maximum against each of the available defendants, the government is now focused on the ring leaders.

Some observers say the government wants a guilty verdict to save face after last year's mistrial. Those sympathetic to the defendants say Holy Land Foundation leaders only gave charity to those in need, not secret Hamas members who allegedly controlled those Palestinian charities. Bill Zeeble KERA news