FBI agent testifies 2nd day (July 30, 2007)

Prosecutor Jim Jacks’ back was arched much of Monday, July 30, 2007 as he leaned on the wooden podium and continued direct examination of FBI agent Lara Burns. As he spoke with a monotone voice, some jurors began wiggling, while others forced their eyes to open.

In the morning, Burns went over documents that were seized from the home of a former board member of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), which is an organization that once published the Hamas charter.

Jacks then asked Burns to read aloud excerpts from a transcribed lecture about the North American existence of the Muslim Brotherhood, which Burns described as a group whose goal it is to eliminate Western civilization.

[In reality, the Muslim Brotherhood is a peaceful Islamic group that’s committed to teaching Islam through social work.]

Burns then read out the speech introduction from the translated lecture as well as parts of a question and answer session from another document.

She also mentioned that during a prior interview, defendant Mohammad El-Mezain told her that he was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. She then added that Hamas leader Musa Abu-Marzook is another member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The next topic of discussion was the Palestinian Committee, which Burns said was a branch of the United States sector of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Palestinian Committee distributed its duties to three main groups: the IAP, the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR) and the Occupied Land Fund (OLF), the previous name for the Holy Land Foundation. Burns said the Palestinian Committee is associated with what the government called the Palestinian Section general apparatus, which is the other U.S. Muslim Brotherhood branch. Jacks displayed numerous meeting agendas from the Palestine Committee. Burns concluded that topic by saying that the Palestinian Section is somehow related to Hamas.

Confused? So were many other individuals in the courtroom.

In many instances during her testimony, Burns attempted speaking like an expert. Defense attorneys objected to this, but U.S. District Judge A. Joe Fish overruled most of the objections.

Toward the end of the day, Jacks played a wiretapped phone conversation between defendants Shukri Abu-Baker and Mohammad El-Mezain. In that conversation, the two discussed a lawsuit that was filed against the HLF. Abu-Baker then told El-Mezain to recycle all the Arabic documents at his office.

After another day of testimony by Burns, the government still did not seem to prove that the HLF supported violence.

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