A federal judge in Washington has ordered the authors of a damning book on the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to cease publishing documents taken from CAIR offices and to return the material to the group.
U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on Tuesday granted a 10-day temporary restraining order sought by CAIR. The order covers material with privacy concerns – identifying donors and employees and communication with CAIR attorneys – taken by Chris Gaubatz in pursuit of the book Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld that's Conspiring to Islamize America that was co-authored by Gaubatz's father David Gaubatz and Paul Sperry.
The book shows how CAIR hypes its political clout by misrepresenting the size of its membership rolls and the depth of financial support from American donors. It received more attention for its claims that CAIR has a program to place interns on congressional committees dealing with the judiciary and homeland security. That allegation prompted four congressional Republicans to demand an investigation.
In issuing the restraining order, Kollar-Kotelly noted that no one disputes whether Chris Gaubatz took CAIR documents. Muslim Mafia describes how Gaubatz worked as a CAIR intern in 2008 under an assumed name and used his access to remove files and make secret recordings of CAIR officials. The judge also detailed her office's attempts to reach the defendants or their attorneys, including the message that failure to respond or appear at a hearing would be viewed as a concession on the restraining order. With the information before her, Kollar-Kotelly ruled that it appears the Gaubatz's "have unlawfully obtained access to, and have already caused repeated public disclosure of, material containing CAIR's proprietary, confidential and privileged information."
David Gaubatz was served with court papers Wednesday. He Gaubatz minimized the ruling in an interview with Worldnetdaily, which also published the book. "The last thing they want is more evidence of their ties to terrorists before our courts," Gaubatz said.
Things haven't gone so well for CAIR in Dallas, where the group petitioned a federal court to be removed from a list of unindicted co-conspirators in the Hamas financing trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF). As Josh Gerstein reported for Politico, a federal judge denied CAIR's request to be removed from the conspirator list in a sealed ruling July 1. A notation on the case docket appeared only after Gerstein inquired about the ruling.
CAIR is listed among "members of the US Muslim Brotherhood's Palestine Committee." It has denied the allegation and cast itself as a victim of guilt by association. As even a cursory review of the criminal prosecution reveals, however, this couldn't be further from the truth. Evidence in the trial showed that the committee was created to help Hamas politically and financially. This 1994 meeting agenda shows CAIR listed among the Palestine Committee's organizations.
Among the allegations, HLF was accused of having provided more than $12 million to Hamas.
After a 2007 mistrial, five former HLF officials were convicted on 108 counts, ranging from money laundering to conspiring to provide material support to terrorists.
U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis, the presiding judge from the 2008 HLF trial, may have chided the government for filing the list publicly, Gerstein reports. Department of Justice policy calls for such information to be kept secret. That wasn't enough for Solis to grant requests by CAIR, the Islamic Society of North America and the North American Islamic Trust for relief.
There's a little appreciated aspect of the exception in this case and why the list was filed with the court. The defense asked for it. On October 6, 2006, the Holy Land Foundation and its directors filed a motion for a "bill of particulars," a common legal tool used to gain additional information regarding the underlying charges. In that motion, HLF demanded that the court require the government to produce "the names of all unindicted co-conspirators."
Prosecutors opposed the motion, presumably out of deference to DOJ guidelines. In court documents explaining their opposition, however, the government stated that, "the defendants' request for the names of any possible co-conspirator witnesses is clearly not necessary to enable the defendants to understand the charges against them." Consider that—in all likelihood, had it been up to the government, the list of "unindicted co-conspirators" would have never been made public.
In ruling on, and denying the defense motion, the court explained "although the court will not grant this motion for a bill of particulars to give the defendants a preview of the government's witness list, the court has ordered the government to provide defendants with its witness list well in advance of trial." This left the government in a difficult situation. Under the same guidelines governing the use of "unindicted co-conspirator" lists, the manual states, "prosecutors shall comply…with any court order directing the public filing of a bill of particulars." Consequently, rather than a political move as CAIR would have you believe, the release of the list was done in response to court order and in compliance with Justice Department procedures.
Other than respond to reporters' questions, CAIR has not tried to draw attention to either matter. It has issued no release highlighting its lawsuit or its initial victory with the restraining order.