The unindicted co-conspirator list in the Hamas-support trial of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) never should have been made public, a federal judge in Dallas ruled last year. But that doesn't mean the groups and individuals identified should be removed.
U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis sealed the list and his order, but that part of his decision was reversed Wednesday by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals after a challenge by the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), reports Politico's Josh Gerstein.
HLF and five former officials were convicted of illegally routing millions of dollars to Hamas through a series of Palestinian charities controlled by the terrorist group. Attorneys submitted appeals to those convictions Tuesday.
The publication of the list, with 246 individuals and groups identified, created a reputational harm that violated NAIT's Fifth Amendment rights, the judge ruled. NAIT sought relief from the court in 2008, arguing it had no way to challenge its presence on the list and that it hurt NAIT's reputation with government agencies and other religious organizations.
Government attorneys didn't contest the judge's determination that the list shouldn't have been publicized, calling it an "unfortunate oversight." The appeal produced "a muddled result," Gerstein wrote, because Solis found "ample evidence" tying NAIT to the Holy Land Foundation's Hamas-support effort. NAIT bank accounts were used HLF to deposit donations that were ultimately meant to go to Hamas, prosecutors say.