Wednesday, November 17, 2004


Correction, Tears, Intentionally Boring? Prosecution Witness Makes Defense case about filings

Correction: John Obrien of the Post Standard pointed out that I incorrectly quoted the dialogue between prosecution witness Officer Chad Monroe. Here is what I wrote:
Per the Wednesday October 27th blog:
Post StandardI received several phone calls over the weekend, one even from my uncle,telling me that the picture in the Post Standard on Friday of Rafil in abank made him look bad. The prosecution had claimed that Rafil waspretending to be someone else. Well--Devereaux ripped that BOGUS claim todayduring cross-examination of Monroe. Zagha is a man in Jordan that dealt withfinancial matters for Rafil

Devereaux--Did the Dr give you ID saying he was Zagha?
Devereaux--Was he posing as someone else?
Devereaux--Is it illegal to deposit money?

Here is the court Testimony on October 27, 2004--Chad Monroe (A) being cross examined by Devereaux Cannick (q);

Q: Now, may I have the photograph of Dr. Dhafir put up? Can you see the photo?
A Yes, sir.

Q: What is the date that the photograph was taken?
A: The photograph does not have a date on it that I see.

Q: Well, during the course of your investigation, did you ascertain the date of the photograph?
A: No, I did not?

Q:Did you ascertain the date that the doctor was actually in the bank?
A:No, I did not.

Q: Now in that photograph, it doesn't seem to be that the doctor is in any way disguising his appearance, does it?
A: No it does not.

Q: He's not covering his face is he?
A: No, he's not.

Q: Just going into the bank and standing in the line, am I correct?
A: Yes, sir.

Q: And he appears to be in that photograph the same way that he appeared at the time that you conducted your surveillance of him outside of his office, am I correct?
A: Close, I guess, yes.

Q: Beg pardon?
A: Yes, he appears similar when I conducted my surveillance.

Q: you said similar, any differences in his appearance?
A: Different clothes on and things like that.

Q:Yeah, but in terms of his face, his face, his beard, he ore a beard on the day that you conducted your physical surveillance?
A: Yeah beard could have been longer or shorter compared to the photograph.

Q: Well, do you recall it being longer or shorter?
A: I recall it being a little longer that the photograph?

Q: The name Maher Zagha is on this photograph, this has been received in evidence?
Mr. Olmstead: Yes, it has.

Q: On this photograph that's been received into evidence, do you know how the name Maher Zagha got on this photograph?
A: No, I do not.

Q: Now, when you --how was it that you got possession of this photograph?
A: The photograph came along with the suspicious incident report from the Fleet bank?

Q: You're not suggesting to the jury that Dr. Dhafir went to the bank and represented himself as Maher Zagha?
A: I did not say that, no.

Q: No. And that was not what he was doing, am I correct?
A: According to my information in the SAR, he was--he had conducted at least one transaction on the Maher Zagha Account.

Q: Account. And that one transaction was a deposit, am I correct?
A: I don't recall without looking at it.

Q: Well, let me ask you this, there is nothing illegal about a person going and making a deposit into someone else's account, am I correct, sir?
A: That's correct.

Q: And especially if the person has the permission and authority of the account holder, am I correct?
A: That is correct.
Clearly I mis-quoted the cross-examination and I admit that I was wrong. But did I miss the gist of what went on? Was I wrong in saying that during cross-examination the defense showed the picture of Dr. Dhafir in the bank to be irrelevant/innocuous, or a 'bogus attempt to make Dr. Dhafir look bad'?

Tears over the Sanctions: One of the more moving moments of the trial was when local activist and Dhafir supporter Jeanne DeSocio broke into tears Wednesday November 10th. She got upset over the testimony of Susan Hutner, Dept of Treasury Foreign Assets Division, who spoke coldly and indifferently about the sanctions, as if the death of over 500,000 Iraqi children did not matter. It was all too reminiscent of Secretary Madeline Albright who considered the deaths of Iraqi citizens as collateral damage.

Boring Yes--But is it Intentional? Last week's the governments' power point presentation was on display again as Don Bailey went over the Help the Needy money flows. One could see the jurors eyes glaze over as the prosecution tried to show where they thought the money went. The question I have is do they want to put the jury to sleep or are they just making their case?

I ask whether they were intentionally making it boring because--boring and confusing could help them. Consider Devereaux's; cross-examination of Dr. Masood on Monday November 15th. The prosecution had called on Masood to testify to show that Dr. Dhafir had misled his donors by building mosques and buying Koran's--not supply food and medicine to Iraqi's with the money they got. Devereaux tried asking, he was over-ruled by the Judge, whether Masood knew that HTN had offices in England and other countries as well as wealthy Middle East donors who had pledged to invest in mosques and Koran's. Even asked whether Masood knew that Dr. Dhafir had donated over $1,250,000 to HTN.

The defense was trying to correctly point out that contrary to what the government is saying about the use of funds Dr. Dhafir was also raising lots of money specifically targeted for mosques and Q'urans from people overseas. So a lot of what the government was saying, donations did not go to charity, is wrong because the sources for those 'supposedly dubiously spent donations' were target donations by foreign donors.

Add to this the glimmer we have seen of how devout and meticulous Rafil was in his faith. There is copious documentation of how Rafil asked imams and religious scholar's specifics of what was or was not acceptable. For example, if donations were for food--what does food include and not include. The detail was beyond meticulous.

So could boring could help the prosecution because the jury might give them the benefit of doubt--thinking that the missed the link the government was trying to make when they dozed off.

What Filing?: On Monday November 15th prosecution witness Dr. Qazi rained on the prosecutions case by saying that he did not now about filing with OFAC until last year--he attributed the filing to increased post 9-11 scrutiny. Remember that the prosecution has gone to great lengths to show that knowledge about the sanctions and government filings were widely distributed and known to the public. But as Devereaux previously pointed out the media and the government had done almost zilch on educating the public. Qazi who has several charities only confirmed how poor a job the government has done. Did the jury get it?

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