Ashcroft Tries to Keep Lawyer Off Portland 7 Case

Patrice Lumumba Ford is one of the defendants in the Portland 7 alleged terrorism case (Mike Hawash is another.) Ashcroft is seeking to prevent New York lawyer Stanley Cohen from representing him-- based on a secret affidavit that claims Cohen has a conflict due to his prior representation of Sheik Mohamed Abdirahman Kariye, the prayer leader at the Islamic Center of Portland, who is also known as Masjed As-Saber.

The defense has filed a motion for access to the sealed affidavit, demanding to know what evidence there is to link Kariye to the alleged terror cell plot. A hearing will be held August 22 on the Government's motion to bar Cohen from the case.

The government's motion claims Kariye provided money and other support to the local Muslims who allegedly tried to travel to Afghanistan to fight against the allied forces that overthrew the country's Taliban regime. Kariye also helped start a Muslim charity in the United States the Global Relief Foundation that the government accuses of funding terrorism.

Despite these allegations, the government has not charged Kariye with any terrorism-related crimes.

Our view: How can Cohen respond to the allegations without knowing what facts or mistruths the Government is relying upon? Lawyers should not be barred from representation based on secret evidence.

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