Monday, December 10, 2007

Appropriately named juror, Will (K)Neal causes HLF hung jury

DALLAS – She felt the men were guilty, and tried to explain why to the 11 other jurors.
When she finished, one juror spoke up in an angry tone.

"If you're going by the evidence in this room," she recalls him snapping, "then you need to go home."

The terrorism-support trial of five Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) officials, which began July 24, already had been stressful for 49-year-old Kristina Williams. She had lost her job two weeks into it. Now during deliberations, she felt bullied and intimidated virtually every time she voiced an opinion.

While several jurors favored acquittals, only one out of the 12 did most of the knocking down. In fact, interviews with three HLF jurors - speaking publicly for the first time - suggest that juror William Neal's stridency may have changed the trial's outcome. Neal even claimed credit for steering jurors away from convictions in a recent radio interview. Until now, he has been the sole source for public perception of the deliberations and the government's case.

The three jurors interviewed by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) showed the Neal-created perception as skewed. All three jurors say they disagree with his views of the evidence and the prosecution's case. To them, it seems clear that Neal made up his mind going into the jury room and refused to consider any argument in favor of guilt. He preferred to read the court's instructions rather than look at exhibits in evidence, they said. And his often snide manner intimidated and bullied those who disagreed with him.

The effect this had on the case is clear. When a juror walked out in frustration after just four days of deliberations, it followed a confrontation with Neal. When another juror briefly refused to cast a vote, it was after a confrontation with Neal. Williams broke down several times during the 19 days each incident followed what she felt was an attack by Neal.

"He took control of that jury room," another juror, Sylvester Holmes said. "You just look at the case. The jury room was a mess."

Thankfully, the Dallas County District Attorney will re-file the case against the Holy Land Foundation bunch. Be sure and watch for similar strong arm tactics to be involved there, too. I have always felt that Dallas, Texas was a hotbed of radical Muslim dissent, similar to what is seen in Minnesota or in New Jersey. And sadly, I feel that Dallas is a very favorable target for Terrorism, based upon its fame, and the proximity, up I-35 from the porous border with Mexico. Also thankfully, CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) and this bunch, the HLF will forever be associated with the words, "unindicted co-conspirators", or "accused".

That will or should be enough to cause good Americans to take the time to be doubtful of, and curious to American Muslim affections for HLF. But to go back to Mr. Neal and the jury verdict:

Neal made his disdain clear two days after the mistrial in an interview on Dallas radio station KRLD. "A lot of the jurors couldn't even say words that had four syllables," Neal said on the Ernie and Jay show on KRLD 1080 AM. "They just picked the jury based on socio-economical reasons. A lot of these people are blue collar, you know, working UPS, working food, cafeteria cashier. You had people [from] secluded lifestyles. They had no idea of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. They had no idea about worldly affairs.

"To get [to] them, they show them bombs and show them dead Israeli kids – that's not our lifestyle so we've got to vote them guilty because of that. That's the whole reason."

Chilling, equivocating words.

The Dallas Morning News noted Neal "also had difficulty calling Hamas a terrorist group. ‘Part of it does terrorist acts, but it's a political movement. It's an uprising.'"

The Investigative Project on Terrorism has the complete story.

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