St. Petersburg Times
June 6, 2003
Al-Arian's trial set for early 2005
Lawyers for the former USF professor vow to fight the judge's decision, saying their client has a right to a speedy trial.
By GRAHAM BRINK,
TAMPA - Former University of South Florida professor Sami Al-Arian appears to be in for a long wait before the start of his trial. At a hearing on June 5, U.S. District Judge James Moody set a trial date in January 2005, citing the complexity and unique nature of the terrorism-related case. Al-Arian's attorneys, Jeff Brown and Frank Louderback, vowed to fight the decision, saying their client has a right to a speedy trial.
"We are drawing a line in the sand," Brown said. "This has been Big Brother."
After an eight-year investigation, federal agents arrested Al-Arian and three other men in February on charges that they supported, promoted and raised money for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist group considered responsible for more than 100 deaths.
Federal prosecutors say agents taped thousands of telephone conversations over several years - most of them in Arabic - while they had Al-Arian and the other men under surveillance.
Only Al-Arian has refused to waive his speedy-trial rights. Attorneys for the other three defendants said they will need at least 18 months to examine the evidence.