Fired Florida Professor Offers No Defense in Case of Supporting Palestinian Terrorists

Palestinian terrorists


Defense attorney William Moffitt called the case against Sami Al-Arian (search) an "all-out assault on the First Amendment" right to free speech, then rested.

Outside court, Moffitt said, "The government has not proven Dr. Al-Arian has done anything but speak."

Prosecutor Cherie Krigsman had no comment.

Attorneys for three co-defendants began presenting their cases, which could take weeks more.

Al-Arian, 47, and his co-defendants are accused of using Palestinian charities and educational entities as fundraising fronts for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad to support homicide bombings (search) that killed hundreds. The men deny they supported violent acts and say they are being persecuted for views that are unpopular in the United States.

Al-Arian was a professor of computer engineering at the University of South Florida. He was fired after he was indicted.

Federal prosecutors called more than 70 witnesses and introduced hundreds of pages of transcripts of wiretapped phone calls and faxes.

The communications, intercepted by the FBI from the mid-1990s to about 2003, included discussions about the direction and financing of the Palestinian group.

Other times, the participants appear to celebrate homicide attacks that killed Israelis and speak glowingly of the Palestinian "martyrs" who carried them out.