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Al-Arian seeks high profile Washington lawyer

Sami Al-Arian may be hiring a high-profile Washington D.C., lawyer in his terrorism-related case.

The former USF computer science professor is considering William B. Moffitt, former president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, to assist in the 50-count indictment case.

Al-Arian lost his first attorney Nicholas Matassini after supporters failed to raise enough money. Then Al-Arian received court-appointed attorneys Jeffrey Brown and Frank Louderback.

Moffitt told The Tampa Tribune that a final determination would be made shortly about his representation of Al-Arian. However, Brown said in the article that he expects the U.S. Attorney’s Office to request a hearing to determine the source of the funds and make sure the money is not coming from terrorist groups like the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Groups have held fund-raisers for Al-Arian, including one at Georgetown University in April that was sponsored by the Muslim Students Association, the Young Arab Leadership Alliance and Campaign Civil Rights.

Moffitt has defended Agus Budiman, a Virginia man charged with identification fraud and immigration violations and former United Way President William Aramony, who was sentenced in 1995 for fraud, tax and conspiracy charges for stealing for the organization.

Moffitt also added in the article that Al-Arian’s case “would interest anyone that was a practicing criminal defense lawyer,” because of the issues it has, such as the U.S. Patriot Act and other First Amendment issues.

Al-Arian was arrested in February and charged with conspiracy to murder, racketeering and more than 45 other charges that the government says links to him to the PIJ.