LINDA WERTHEIMER, Host:
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.
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Bill Zeeble reports from member station KERA in Dallas.
BILL ZEEBLE: Southern Methodist University law professor Jeffrey Kahn, who teaches counterterrorism, says the government will try to track the money's path.
JEFFREY KAHN: If money is freed up in one area, it can be used in another area. To the extent that Hamas provides for a wide variety of medical and social welfare needs in Gaza and the West Bank as well as engages in acts of terrorism, every penny saved can be used in a terrorist context.
ZEEBLE: Fort Worth attorney Tim Evans used to represent Shukri Abu Baker and Ghassan Elashi, defendants in this case. He says his former clients and the other defendants collected money for charitable use only.
TIM EVANS: It is my belief that the prosecution will not be able to show that any money went to Hamas to fund any terrorist activities.
ZEEBLE: That's because it was not funneled directly, according to the FBI's former Deputy Assistant Director Danny Coulson. The money, he says, went to nonprofit groups controlled by Hamas. While faithful Muslims are called to give some of their income to such charities, Coulson's convinced the Holy Land Foundation misled donors.
DANNY COULSON: The Holy Land Foundation claims to be a religious organization that supports charities; al-Qaida claims to be a religious organization, too. An investigative agency has to respect that, but also you have to understand that people used that as a cover to support terrorism. And that's exactly what we knew was going on.
ZEEBLE: Professor Kahn says these experts on both sides are essential to this case involving different governments, religions, cultures and languages.
KAHN: Because a lot of the concepts are new or subject to multiple interpretations, there are enough professors and other experts coming to Dallas for this case that you could have a small convention.
ZEEBLE: Unraveling the complex web in this case is expected to last four months or longer. For NPR News, I'm Bill Zeeble in Dallas.
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