Most counts of contempt in Minn. terror case nixed

A federal appeals court has thrown out 19 of 20 contempt-of-court citations against a Minnesota woman convicted of funneling money to terrorists in Somalia.

The Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday affirmed the first contempt charge against Amina Farah Ali, a Muslim, who refused to stand for the judge and jury early on in her trial last October, saying it is prohibited by her religion. The three-judge panel vacated all other contempt counts against Ali and sent the case back to Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis.

The appeals court says the judge ruled only on First Amendment grounds, and failed to consider a separate federal law protecting religious freedom.

Ali and a co-defendant, who say they only sent money for the poor, await sentencing on terrorism-related charges.