The Bush Justice Department seems to be making up evidence in a prominent terror trial.
When the Bush administration shut down the Holy Land Foundation five years ago, officials of the former Richardson charity denied allegations that it was linked to terrorists and insisted that a number of accusations were fabricated by the government.
Now attorneys for the Holy Land Foundation say the government’s own documents provide evidence of their assertion.
In recent court filings, defense lawyers disclosed discrepancies between an official summary and the verbatim transcripts of a wiretapped conversation in 1996 involving Holy Land officials.
The summary attributes inflammatory, anti-Semitic comments to Holy Land officials that are not found in a 13-page transcript of the conversation, recorded by the FBI. The transcript recently was turned over to the defense in an exchange of evidence with the government.
Citing the unexplained discrepancies, defense lawyers asked U.S. District Judge A. Joseph Fish in Dallas to declassify thousands of hours of FBI surveillance recordings so that full transcripts can replace government summaries as evidence.
The demand could force government prosecutors to either declassify evidence they have fought to keep secret or risk losing a critical part of their case.
“Throughout the run-up to trial, the government has insisted that the defendants can learn what is contained in the [surveillance] intercepts by reading the so-called ‘summaries’ of those intercepts,” defense attorneys said in their papers.
But the recently disclosed transcript, attorneys said, shows that, “Not only are the summaries so inaccurate and misleading as to be useless [but the] author of the attached summary has cynically and maliciously attributed to the defendants racist invective and inculpatory remarks the defendants never uttered.”