DETROIT – A judge rejected a Lebanese-born defendant's request that he remove himself from a case involving terrorism because the judge is Jewish.
Fawzi Mustapha Assi, 48, has pleaded guilty to providing support for a terrorist group. He addressed the court Monday against the advice of his attorney, saying he heard rumors that U.S. District Judge Gerald E. Rosen is a Zionist and might have pro-Israel sympathies.
Assi said he was concerned the judge could not be impartial when sentencing him for supporting "one of the most hated enemies of the state of Israel."
Rosen said Assi's request was "a little late" and that the court "has bent over backwards" to ensure fairness.
Assi, a former resident of Dearborn, was arrested in 1998 when he tried to board a plane to Lebanon with visual and navigational equipment for Hezbollah. He pleaded guilty in November 2007.
Sentencing is expected within eight weeks.