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U.S. | Police State and Prisons

Civil Rights Attorney Lynne Stewart Responds to Court Ruling Upholding Conviction and Ordering Her to Prison
by via Democracy Now
Wednesday Nov 18th, 2009 7:56 AM
Wednesday, November 18, 2009 :Civil rights attorney Lynne Stewart has been ordered to prison to begin serving a two-and-a-half year sentence after a federal appeals court upheld her conviction on Tuesday. Lynne Stewart was found guilty in 2005 of distributing press releases on behalf of her jailed client, Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, also known as the blind sheikh, who is serving a life sentence on terror-related charges. The panel also described Stewart's 28-month sentence as "strikingly low" and sent the case back to the trial judge to determine whether she deserved a longer prison term. In a Democracy Now national broadcast exclusive, Lynne Stewart joins us from New York.
Civil rights attorney Lynne Stewart has been ordered to prison to begin serving a two-and-a-half year sentence after a federal appeals court upheld her conviction on Tuesday.

Lynne Stewart was found guilty in 2005 of distributing press releases on behalf of her jailed client, Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, also known as the blind sheikh, who is serving a life sentence on terror-related charges. Prosecutors had sought a thirty-year sentence. But Stewart was sentenced to two-and-a-half years after the judge rejected the prosecutors’ argument that she threatened national security and ruled there was no evidence her actions caused any harm.

On Tuesday, a three-judge appeals court panel ordered the trial judge to revoke Stewart’s bond and said she must begin serving her 28-month sentence. The panel rejected Stewart’s claim that she was acting only as a “zealous advocate” for her imprisoned client when she passed messages for him. The appellate ruling said “A genuinely held intent to represent a client ‘zealously’ is not necessarily inconsistent with criminal intent.”

The panel also described Stewart’s 28-month sentence as “strikingly low” and sent the case back to the trial judge to determine whether she deserved a longer prison term. The ruling said Stewart–who is 70 years old–was to surrender to U.S. Marshals immediately, but her lawyers won her an extension until at least 5 p.m. today.

Lynne Stewart joins us now from New York in a national broadcast exclusive interview.

Lynne Stewart, civil rights attorney.

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