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6/27/2004 01:11:00 AM | Ms. Anthrope

The OTHER Stewart Trial

Unlike Martha, the home decorating mogul whose trial in the very same Southern District of New York courthouse several months ago stirred up a minor media feeding frenzy, the trial of Lynne Stewart, a human rights lawyer whom Ashcroft's Justice Department accuses of helping terrorists, hasn't been receiving nearly as much attention as it deserves. The DOJ claims that Ms. Stewart helped her client, convicted terrorist Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, convey messages to his followers--charges Ms. Stewart vehemently denies. Almost exactly one year prior, a federal judge dismissed DOJ claims that Stewart had conspired to provide, and had provided or attempted to provide, material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization. As TalkLeft.com and a good many other observers who distrust the current Justice Department's leadership and motives believe, the Department wishes to make an example of Ms. Stewart, in an effort to keep American human rights activists from protesting new civil liberties restrictions too loudly.

(Lucky for me, the trial is taking place right across the street from where I work this summer. It was thrilling to see some of the opening remarks!)

For an excellent Washington Post article on the trial, reprinted, click here.

Following in the proud tradition of Moveon.org-ian Internet activism, Ms. Stewart is also keeping a daily blog of her experiences.

For a good overview of the kinds of measures that allow the government to wiretap normally confidential attorney-client communications, as it did in this case, see this Counterpunch article .




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