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The new president will also shape the U.S. approach to terrorism. And this week, the outgoing administration won a victory in court. A Texas jury has convicted the Holy Land Foundation and five of its leaders of funneling money to the radical Palestinian group Hamas. From member station KERA, Bill Zeeble reports on the largest terrorism financing trial since 9/11.
BILL ZEEBLE: The North Texas based Holy Land Foundation was once the nation's largest Muslim charity. But in this long and complex retrial, jurors agreed with prosecutors who said the Holy Land Foundation helped fund Hamas, which the U.S. government labeled a terrorist organization in 1995. After the guilty verdicts, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Richard Roper called it a great day in the United States.
Mr. RICHARD ROPER (U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas): We will not tolerate those who choose to finance terrorism. That's a clear message with the resounding verdict of guilty on all accounts. Money is the lifeblood of terrorism, plain and simple.
ZEEBLE: Prosecutors say the Holy Land Foundation sent Hamas at least $12 million disguised as charity. Some money did go to Palestinians in need, but the government says other money paid for violence. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Jacks says his team learned from the first trial by streamlining arguments and targeting top ringleaders Ghassan Elashi and Shukri Abu-Baker. He says prosecutors also made better use of experts. One of them explained how the defendants maintained close contact with Hamas leaders long after such contact became illegal.
Mr. JIM JACKS (Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas): That's not something that the average person is going to be able to have - you know, telephone contact with leaders of a terrorist organization.
ZEEBLE: Government experts also included an anonymous Israeli agent, which the defense says is grounds for an appeal. Defense attorneys did not speak after the trial, but backers of defendants did, including Hadi Jawad, a Muslim anti-war activist.
Mr. HADI JAWAD (Vice President, Dallas Peace Center): These are good, noble men. I can't say the system of justice works because this is in my opinion abuse of power. A foreign government was allowed to testify in an American court against U.S. citizens.
ZEEBLE: Supporters of the defendants say those on trial only provided philanthropy to Palestinians and others, including survivors of the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building. The judge hasn't yet set a sentencing date, and the defendants are in custody. For NPR News, I'm Bill Zeeble in Dallas.
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