Closing Arguments Begin in Holy Land Retrial

November 10, 2008

Author: Paul J. Weber

Source: The Houston Chronicle

Wire Service: AP

Federal prosecutors made their closing arguments that a Muslim charity in Texas raised millions of dollars to finance international terrorism before again handing the case to a jury Monday.

Last year's trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development ended in no convictions and a mistrial on most charges in the government's biggest terror-financing trial since Sept. 11, 2001.

Prosecutors this time pared down what observers had criticized as a bloated and complicated case, but their final point boiled down to the same as last year: that the Texas-based charity was created to raise money for Hamas.

"Don't let the defendants deceive you that what they did, they did to support widows and orphans," federal prosecutor Barry Jonas said.

But Theresa Duncan, attorney for former Holy Land chief executive Shukri Abu Baker, said Holy Land was a philanthropic group that only sought to give aid to a war-torn region.