nationalsecuritylaw United States v. Mujahidh (W.D. Wash. Dec. 8, 2011) (guilty plea)

December 8, 2011

* United States v. Mujahidh (W.D. Wash. Dec. 8, 2011) (guilty plea)

From the DOJ press release

SEATTLE – A former Los Angeles man pleaded guilty today in connection with the June 2011 plot to attack a military installation in Seattle, announced Jenny A. Durkan, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington; Lisa Monaco, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; and Laura M. Laughlin, Special Agent-in-Charge of the FBI Seattle office.

Walli Mujahidh, aka “Frederick Domingue, Jr.,” 32, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to murder officers and agents of the United States, conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction and unlawful possession of a firearm. If the plea agreement is accepted by the court, Mujahidh will be sentenced to between 27 and 32 years in prison under the terms of the agreement. Following the prison term, Mujahidh will be on federal supervised release for the rest of his life. Mujahidh is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge James L. Robart on April 16, 2012.

The other defendant in the case, Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, aka “Joseph Anthony Davis,” 33, of Seattle, remains scheduled for trial in May 2012.

Law enforcement first became aware of the plot when a citizen alerted them that he/she had been approached about participating in the attack and supplying firearms to the conspirators. The person then agreed to work with law enforcement, which began monitoring Abdul-Latif and Mujahidh. Since early June, the conspirators were captured on audio and videotape discussing a violent assault on the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). The MEPS is where each branch of the military screens and processes enlistees. In addition to housing many civilian and military employees, the building houses a federal daycare center.

In his plea agreement, Mujahidh admits that he became aware of the planned attack in May 2011, and in early June was making plans to travel to Seattle from Los Angeles to participate in the attack. Mujahidh arrived in Seattle on June 21, 2011, and in a meeting with a person who was working with law enforcement, Mujahidh suggested going into the MEPS with machine guns and grenades and killing everyone there.

The next day, the person working with police brought some firearms, which had been rendered inoperable by law enforcement, to a meeting with Mujahidh and Abdul-Latif. The men were arrested after they took possession of the weapons. Mujahidh is prohibited from possessing firearms due to a felony conviction in California for theft.

The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington, with assistance from the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

The investigation is being conducted by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, which has investigators from federal, state and local law enforcement. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) contributed significant expertise to this investigation.


nationalsecuritylaw U.S. v. Holy Land Foundation (5th Cir. Dec. 7, 2011)

December 8, 2011

Yesterday, a Fifth Circuit panel (King, joined by Garza and Graves) affirmed the convictions of the individual defendants in the Holy Land Foundation case and also dismissed the appeal lodged by the foundation itself. Be warned; the document is 170 pages. Here is the table of contents, so you can get a sense of the topics addressed:

I. Factual and Procedural Background………………………………………………………..7

II. Discussion……………………………………………………………………………………………..16

A. Testimony of witnesses using pseudonyms………………………………………16

B. Hearsay evidence…………………………………………………………………………..22

1. Mohamed Shorbagi……………………………………………………………….23

2. Documents seized from the Palestinian Authority…………………..27

3. Elbarasse and Ashqar documents…………………………………………..34

C. Prejudicial evidence under Rule 403……………………………………………….46

D. Expert and lay opinion testimony…………………………………………………..52

1. John McBrien……………………………………………………………………….52

2. FBI Agents Lara Burns and Robert Miranda………………………….56

3. Matthew Levitt……………………………………………………………………..59

4. Steven Simon………………………………………………………………………..60

E. Letter rogatory………………………………………………………………………………62

F. Production of the defendants’ intercepted statements………………………65

G. Harmless and cumulative error……………………………………………………..77

1. Harmless error……………………………………………………………………..78

a. HLF’s connection to Hamas…………………………………………..80

b. Hamas’s control of the zakat committees……………………….88

2. Cumulative error…………………………………………………………………..94

H. Jury charge…………………………………………………………………………………..94

I. The search of HLF’s offices……………………………………………………………101

J. Defendant Elashi’s double jeopardy issue………………………………………111

1. Time…………………………………………………………………………………..113

2. Co-conspirators…………………………………………………………………..114

3. Statutory offenses……………………………………………………………….115

4. Overt acts…………………………………………………………………………..117

5. Place…………………………………………………………………………………..120

K. Defendant El-Mezain’s collateral estoppel issue…………………………….121

1. Collateral estoppel as a bar to the instant conviction……………..122

2. Collateral estoppel and the exclusion of evidence…………………..132

L. Mistrial and double jeopardy………………………………………………………..134

M. Challenge to FISA applications and intercepts……………………………..142

1. Disclosure of FISA applications and orders…………………………..143

2. Suppression of FISA intercepts…………………………………………….151

N. Sentencing………………………………………………………………………………….154

1. Terrorism adjustment………………………………………………………….154

2. Value of laundered funds……………………………………………………..156

O. Appeals of HLF and Nancy Hollander…………………………………………..158

1. Background………………………………………………………………………..158

2. HLF’s appeal………………………………………………………………………165

3. Hollander’s appeal………………………………………………………………169

III. Conclusion………………………………………………………………………………………….170