Home Store In Memoriam Deborah Newsletter Forum Topics Blogfeed Blogroll Facebook MySpace Contact Us About

Discredited “Terrorism Expert” Steve Emerson Adjudges Holy Land Defendants Guilty Despite Mistrial

Reported by Ellen - October 23, 2007 -

In another FOX News circumvention of the legal system, discredited “terrorism expert” Steve Emerson appeared on Hannity & Colmes last night (10/22/07) and spun the mistrial of five leaders of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development with a blatant effort to have the audience adjudge them guilty nonetheless. As Alan Colmes argued that the mistrial represented a major setback in the case, Emerson turned snide and snotty and the normally affable Colmes gave Emerson and guest host Oliver North a piece of his mind. With video.

As I have previously posted, Emerson has a history of peddling misinformation in his zeal to attack Muslims. Last night was no exception. While one of the defendants was acquitted of all but one of the 32 counts against him, conspiracy to provide support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, Emerson falsely claimed that “the number one count, conspiracy to carry out terrorism, still stands.”

Emerson insisted that the mistrial was “not a victory for the Islamic militants.” Maybe not, but it was certainly no victory for the government, either. As the AP reported on FOX News’ own website,

“This is a stunning setback for the government," said a former U.S. attorney, Matthew Orwig. "There is absolutely nothing positive in that verdict today for the government." Orwig said if prosecutors retry the case, they should dramatically simplify it and perhaps focus on fewer defendants.

Nevertheless, Emerson said the mistrial “means they’re gonna be (sic) a redo entirely.”

The contretemps between Colmes and Emerson arose from Colmes’ claim that some of the defendants had been acquitted. Colmes was partially right and partially mistaken: One defendant was acquitted of 31 out of 32 counts. Two others had been acquitted until the judge polled the jury (usually a formality) and heard from three jurors that they disagreed with the verdicts. Further deliberations failed to resolve the jurors’ differences.

Colmes and Emerson clashed about a week ago over the use of the term “Islamo-fascism” and, apparently, resentments lingered. Emerson rudely said, “Alan, you know what? I don’t want to engage in further argument because you’re wasting a lot of valuable time.”

Colmes shot back, “Don’t insult me, Steve… Don’t tell me I’m wasting time on my own show when we invite you on as a guest.”

Later, Colmes had a few choice words for North, too, when he said “Obviously, Alan needs to learn more.”

According to the New York Times, the defendants were not charged with directly paying for suicide bombings. “Instead, the prosecution said, the foundation supported terrorism by sending more than $12 million to charitable groups, known as zakat committees, which build hospitals and feed the poor. The prosecution said the committees were controlled by Hamas and contributed to terrorism by helping Hamas spread its ideology and recruit supporters.”

But Emerson all but accused the defendants of being terrorists. He said, “The evidence that came out during this trial shows that these individuals were members of Hamas, they believed in political murder, they lied throughout their lives to the media and to the government that they were not Hamas. It was definitively proven they were Hamas. Now, I’m not saying that that’s the grounds for conviction but I am saying the documents are amazing, including one which I want to quote to you which shows you they were part of a larger Islamist movement.”

In other words, trial, schmial. Emerson and, by extension, FOX News, would rather just call them guilty and be done with it.