A controversial Muslim advocacy group will have to stand trial for allegations of fraud against hundreds who claimed that they were provided with a sham lawyer by the organization, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations is accused of knowingly allowing a member to pose as an attorney to represent hundreds of plaintiffs who came to CAIR's Virginia offices for legal help.
The eight-year-old case was dismissed by a district judge, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Washington, DC Circuit reinstated it.
The plaintiffs, who are represented by the American Freedom Law Center, allege that that they were the victims of massive fraud when their CAIR-appointed attorney, Morris J. Days, turned out not to be a lawyer at all.
“They [CAIR] knew their attorney stole money and they attempted a Watergate like cover-up,” lead attorney David Yershalmi told Foxnews.com. “Our clients lost their jobs, were displaced from their homes, and have all suffered tremendous emotional distress as documented by a forensic psychologist.”
The suit alleges that the national chapter of CAIR was well aware that that Days, a former “Resident Attorney” and “Manager for Civil Rights” was never an attorney and failed to provide legal services. The also allege that not only was CAIR aware of the fraud but that the organization conspired to keep his clients in the dark.
“By hiring and training Days, CAIR's national office took responsibility for the work Days would do in their civil rights cases,” Jennifer Breedon, legal analyst, for the Clarion Project told FoxNews.com. “CAIR National, and its affiliate offices across the US, presents itself as a civil rights organization that defends the legal rights of their clients. Since CAIR is a not-for-profit organization, it cannot take money from its clients for work they conduct under the auspices of their non-profit objectives.”
The legal analyst adds that CAIR did not fire Days after it was discovered that he was a sham lawyer and allowed him to continue to represent himself as a legitimate lawyer for the organization.
CAIR officials did not immediately return requests for comment.
The case will be entering a discovery phase for more evidence of damages before heading to trial at a date yet to be determined.