Deliberations continue

As of Monday, jurors have not reached a verdict in the federal terrorism-conspiracy trial of former USF computer engineering professor Sami Al-Arian and three co-defendants.

Jurors will meet again today for an eighth day of deliberations. According to Wednesday’s St. Petersburg Times, defense lawyer Stephen Bernstein filed a motion for a mistrial after a Tampa Tribune article concerning the trial made its way into the jury room.

The article contained results of a poll taken from 1,225 people and said 87 percent believed the jury would find Al-Arian guilty.

Al-Arian and co-defendants Sameeh Hammoudeh, Hatem Fariz and Ghassan Ballut are charged with conspiring to further the violent acts of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), an organization which claimed responsibility for hundreds of deaths in Israel and the occupied territories.

Al-Arian founded the World Islamic Studies Enterprise, which prosecutors said was a front for the PIJ. Defense lawyers claim Al-Arian contributed funds only to the humanitarian side of the PIJ.

Defendants are accused in a 51-count indictment that includes operating a criminal enterprise and conspiracy to provide support to a terrorist organization.

-Staff Report