Meanwhile, at the Padilla Hearing
What would you do if you were on trial for conspiring to engage in terrorism against the United States and your co-defendant was Jose Padilla, the former "dirty bomb" suspect and "enemy combatant"? You would probably do precisely what his two real co-defendants are doing-- try to get the hell away from Padilla as their case gets nearer to trial. Adham Amin Hassoun and Kifah Wael Jayyousi both have asked a federal judge to sever their trials from Padilla's trial so that they can be free from what they call "spill-over prejudice" that they say taints Padilla.
Smart move. And it would be a smart move for U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke to grant their requests. Whatever else these men may be, and whatever it is they are accused of doing, they deserve to be judged upon their own conduct and not upon the Padilla's government-inspired infamy. Jayyousi, for example, holds a doctorate degree in engineering, and never before met Padilla until they saw each other in court (according to Jayyousi's attorneys). It's a long shot, I know, because prosecutors love to try conspiracy cases all at once, hoping that the defendants will point so many fingers at one another that they will help prosecutors win. And, indeed, the New York Times reports, that finger-pointing is likely to happen here. Still, Judge Cooke should do the right thing and give the other two defendants a chance to be tried separately....
Meanwhile, Padilla's competency hearing continues in Miami. On Monday, a government witness, a pyschologist, told Judge Cooke that while Padilla may suffer from "mild anxiety and personality disorders" he is mentally competent to stand trial in April. And The Los Angeles Times is reporting today that Judge Cooke "refused to admit into evidence a purported Al Qaeda training manual that prosecutors said advised captured terrorists to refuse to cooperate with attorneys and to allege they were mistreated -- as Padilla has done." Another sign that Judge Cooke is not a huge fan of the government's case.
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Posted by: Johnny Getreel | March 5, 2007 05:03 PM
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