Lynne Stewart Gets High Marks for Her Trial Testimony

Encouraging news...New York defense lawyer Lynne Stewart, on trial for providing material support to terrorists by passing along messages from her imprisoned client, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, finished nine days on the witness stand, and earns high marks.

Throughout her time on the witness stand, Stewart largely kept her composure, becoming emotional on only one occasion. Her final day of cross-examination was similar to previous days. Stewart appeared largely unruffled and answered the prosecutor's questions directly, although she made a point of interjecting comments to score points along the way.

Overall, Stewart was a strong witness who came across as fairly direct and open, despite the prosecution's continued implication that she was being disingenuous and stretching her interpretation of the law to cover damaging facts.

Stewart's lawyer, Michael Tigar, on redirect, diffused much of the prosecution's argument:

When Tigar took the podium to rehabilitate his client on redirect examination, the veteran defense attorney went right to the heart of the matter.

"Do you personally support Islamic fundamentalism?" he asked.

"Personally? No, I do not," Stewart responded.

"Do you support the right of Israel to exist?" he asked.

"Yes, I believe it has a right to exist," Stewart said. "But I also believe Palestine has a right to exist and something must be worked out so they can live peaceably and compatibly."

Later, Tigar asked her if she ever violated "any promise you made in your affirmation," and, "Do you believe you violated the language in the SAMs?"

Stewart's answer was no. "As I explained, I was operating under the ethical rules," that lawyers "are autonomous" and that the rules "are not in conflict with the SAMs."

Stewart's two co-defendants will now present their defenses and, assuming the Court doesn't grant a motin for judgment of acquittal, the case will go to the jury.

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