Jury deliberations continue

As of Tuesday, jurors have still not reached a verdict in the terrorism-conspiracy trial of former USF computer engineering professor Sami Al-Arian.

Today, jurors are scheduled to meet for a sixth day of deliberations at the downtown Tampa federal courtroom. If jurors don’t reach a verdict by late Wednesday, they will meet again after the Thanksgiving holiday to continue deliberations.

Prosecutors say Al-Arian and co-defendants Sameeh Hammoudeh, Ghassan Zayed Ballut and Hatem Naji Fariz used an academic think tank and a Palestinian charity, founded by Al-Arian, as fund-raising fronts and covers for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), an organization which has claimed responsibility for hundreds of deaths in Israel and the occupied territories. Defendants face a 51-count indictment that includes operating a criminal enterprise and conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization.

Defense lawyers contend the government has not established a link between Al-Arian and the violent acts of the PIJ. They say the prosecution has only shown that the defendant expressed unpopular views concerning the Palestinan/Israeli conflict.

-Staff Report