Lynne Stewart's Translator: Guilty By Virtue of 9/11?

John Cole writes about today's New York Times' article outlining the paltry evidence against Mohamed Yousry, defense lawyer Lynne Stewart's translator in the Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman case.

Both Yousry and Stewart were convicted of terrorism-related charges and are awaiting sentencing.

“I still don’t know what it is that I did that was even wrong, much less illegal,” said Mr. Yousry, alternately indignant and mournful, in an interview in the Manhattan office of one of his lawyers, Mr. Stern. “I followed a process that was designed by the lawyers. They said this is what we’re going to do, and I followed that. .... “The fact that I now know that these lawyers were following a strategy that the government didn’t like, that makes me a criminal?” he asked.

What Mr. Yousry finds most confounding is that he was convicted of aiding Mr. Abdel Rahman’s fundamentalist Islamic cause even though the prosecutors acknowledged that he was nonviolent, did not support the sheik’s politics and was not a practicing Muslim.

John, a very reasonable conservative, is troubled by the article:

...the report is troubling, because the tone of the story seems to lean towards one of guiltless accomplice. Granted, the prosecutor in the case disagrees. I want more info on this.

The trial transcripts and most legal documents are available here. The defense protion of Mr. Yousry's trial begins here on page 8704. For an outline of Yousry's portion, go here to page 2210.

If you are not familiar with the case, it's about New York criminal defense attorney Lynne Stewart, who represented an imprisoned jailed sheikh who had been found guilty in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing case. In a nutshell, there was a gag order imposed by the Bureau of Prisons. She may have violated it when she held a press conference at which she announced her client was calling for the end of a ceasefire between his Islamic fundamentalist faction and the Egyptian Government. As a result of her statement about the Sheik calling for the end to the ceasefire, she was charged with aiding a terrorist organization. [The Superseding Indictment is here.]

Much of the evidence against her and the translator came from taped conversations she had with her client at the jail.

More than 85,000 audio recordings of voice calls, faxes and computer transmissions were made by the government during its seven-year investigation as it worked to build a case that Stewart and the three men were conduits for the sheikh to his terrorist followers, and helped him, among other things, to communicate to them his desire for a resumption of terror attacks.

Here is some reaction to the verdicts, particularly to the threat this prosecution poses to all lawyers - and those working with them.

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    Re: Lynne Stewart's Translator: Guilty By Virtue (none / 0) (#1)
    by DawesFred60 on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:02 PM EST
    We will see more people for all kinds of reasons going to prison over 9-11, but bush will never see the insides of a jail, will he? and did he know about 9-11 before hand? and did he help by doing nothing about it? I think he knew what was going down and did nothing, isn't that what this case is about?, knowing but not doing nothing about it?

    Re: Lynne Stewart's Translator: Guilty By Virtue (none / 0) (#2)
    by Dadler on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:03 PM EST
    osama's driver, stewart's translator, hey, what do you think the chances we'll see bush or his puppeteers in the slammer?

    Re: Lynne Stewart's Translator: Guilty By Virtue (none / 0) (#3)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:04 PM EST
    As much as I admire the tireless and fearless Lynne Stewart, I do not understand why she did what she did. It seemed that her politics got the better of her; she taunted her demons in a most public way. Sad, not that the demons she was fighting deserve any support for coming down on her.