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Lynne Stewart Convicted of "Helping Terrorists" For Acting As Lawyer For Egyptian Sheik
NEW YORK (AP) - A veteran civil rights lawyer was convicted Thursday of crossing the line by smuggling messages of violence from one of her jailed clients - a radical Egyptian sheik - to his terrorist disciples on the outside. The jury has been deliberating off-and-on over the past month in the case of Lynne Stewart, 65, a firebrand, left-wing activist known for representing radicals and revolutionaries in her 30 years on the New York legal scene.
Feb. 10 (Bloomberg) -- New York lawyer Lynne Stewart was convicted of helping a radical Egyptian sheik pass secret messages to his followers urging violent terrorist attacks.
Stewart, 65, was charged with aiding a U.S.-designated terror organization, the Islamic Group, wage a broad murder and kidnapping conspiracy. Prosecutors say she and two co-defendants helped her former client, imprisoned blind cleric Omar Abdel Rahman, transmit messages to the group's leaders in defiance of prison restrictions.
Stewart, whose clients have included mobsters and political radicals, said she was being prosecuted for her role as an outspoken lawyer. She says she never intended to promote terrorism.
Stewart defended Rahman, the Islamic Group's spiritual leader, against 1993 charges that he plotted to blow up the United Nations, an FBI building, two tunnels, and a bridge in New York City. He was convicted and is serving a life sentence in a high security prison, where Stewart had numerous meetings with him.
From 1997 to 2002, Stewart and her co-defendants helped Rahman pass messages to followers in violation of government- imposed restrictions, prosecutors alleged. Rahman relied on the three to withdraw his support for the Islamic Group's cease-fire with the Egyptian government, which the organization adopted after its 1997 attack left 62 people dead in Luxor, Egypt, they say.
Stewart, along with Rahman aide Ahmed Abdel Sattar, 44, and interpreter Mohammed Yousry, 48, were accused of conspiring to defraud the U.S. government. Stewart and Yousry also faced charges of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists.
The case is U.S. v. Stewart, 02cr395, Southern District of New York.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York defense lawyer was convicted on Thursday of aiding terrorism by helping a client send violent messages to militant followers in a case that critics say could hinder the defense of future terrorism suspects.
Lynne Stewart, 65, a feisty defender of the poor and unpopular, was accused in the closely watched case of violating an agreement made with the U.S. Justice Department to limit contact between her client, Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, and the outside world.
Abdel-Rahman was convicted in 1995 of conspiring to attack U.S. targets, including the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.