Al-Arian’s lawyers ask to leave case

The attorneys that headed Sami Al-Arian’s defense asked a federal judge Tuesday to let them off the case if the federal government decides to retry the former USF professor on the nine counts remaining against him.

Al-Arian’s lawyers, Bill Moffitt, who works at a Washington law firm, and Linda Moreno, who does civil litigation in Tampa, will attend a hearing Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas B. McCoun III to explain why they want to leave the case.

“We gave everything we had and I’m too exhausted to give anymore,” Moffitt told the St. Petersburg Times on Tuesday.

This request comes one day after a spokesman of Tampa-based U.S. Attorney Paul Perez said the government is “weeks, not months” away from making a decision.

Al-Arian’s wife, Nahla, said her husband was looking for other attorneys but had yet to find replacements.

“Moreno and Moffitt were excellent, and we will miss them a lot,” she told the Times.After six months of the trial, jurors failed to return a single guilty verdict against Al-Arian and three co-defendants. Al-Arian was found not guilty on eight counts, but the jury deadlocked on the nine others. Two of the defendants were acquitted of all the charges.

The four were charged with raising money for the militant wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad.Federal prosecutor Terry Zitek told the court that if the case is retried, his team would need until June to present “a streamlined case,” which should take about two months to present to a jury. He has also said “it would be correct to assume that we’re going to continue.”

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.