New factual allegations will make it easier to convict Rasmea at her new trial.
We reported the other day how Rasmea Odeh gets new trial in immigration fraud case.
Rasmea is the terrorist member of the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine who was convicted in Israel in 1970 of the 1969 bombing of the SuperSol supermarket in Jerusalem that killed two Hebrew University students, Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner. Rasmea also was convicted of the attempted bombing of the British Consulate.
Rasmea was released in 1979 in a prisoner exchange for an Israeli soldier captured in Lebanon.
Rasmea made her way to the U.S. in the mid-1990s, where she lied on her visa application by denying any prior convictions or imprisonment, and again in her 2003 naturalization application when she repeated the same false answer. For more background, and how Rasmea’s supporters have distorted history, see Rasmea Odeh rightly convicted of Israeli supermarket bombing and U.S. immigration fraud and Rasmea Odeh’s victims – then and now.
Rasmea was convicted of immigration fraud in federal court in Detroit in November 2014, sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered deported after release from prison. The appeals court sent the case back down to the trial court to determine whether Rasmea should have been permitted to call an expert witness in the first trial.
The basis of the new trial was Rasmea being granted the right to call an expert witness at trial to testify that Rasmea did not “knowingly” answer questions falsely on immigration forms because she suffered PTSD as a result of alleged Israeli torture in 1969. That PTSD, Rasmea’s expert will claim, caused her to “filter” questions about whether she “EVER” (bold and CAPS on original form) had been convicted or imprisoned, such that “EVER” was interpreted as covering only the time since Rasmea arrived in the U.S. in the mid-1990s.
It’s a thoroughly dishonest defense which should not have been allowed, but the court will let her present the expert testimony. Please see that prior post for background on Rasmea’s conviction and imprisonment, and false answers.
The new trial was scheduled for January 10,2017.
The substance of the motion states, in full:
1. Counsel was just informed that the govenunent has obtained an 18 page superseding indictment against Ms, Odeh adding additional allegations
2. Counsel will need time to study the indictment, investigate and research the claims made therein and explore possible motions and defenses, as
well as arrange for out of state witnesses schedules to be present at a new trial.
3. Counsel has been making concentrated efforts to comply with the Court’s prior Oders, including filing all pre-trial motions by tomorrow, December
4. The prosecution through AUSA Jonathan Tucke!, has notified counsel that it will not object to a reasonable continuance of the trial date.
While the Superseding Indictment has not been filed in the court docket yet, the US Attorney’s office has issued a press release which is embedded at the end of this post (pdf. here). The key section of the press release states (emphasis added):
A federal grand jury has returned a superseding indictment against Rasmieh Yousef Odeh, 69, of Chicago on charges of procuring her naturalization unlawfully by failing to disclose that she had been convicted of participating in a terrorist bombing, announced United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade
… The retrial will proceed based on the new indictment.
The new indictment does not add any additional charges, but alleges additional facts to support the charges. The original indictment charged that Odeh lied in seeking her naturalization as a United States citizen by failing to disclose that she had been arrested, charged, convicted and imprisoned in Israel, beginning in 1969, as a result of bombings of a supermarket and the British Consulate. The new indictment includes those allegations as well, but also alleges that Odeh, in seeking naturalization, also falsely answered two additional questions on her application form relating to her association with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a designated terrorist organization. The new indictment also alleges that Odeh was inadmissible at the time she arrived in the United States in 1995 because she “engaged in a terrorist activity” as that term is defined by law.
This is an extremely important expansion of the Indictment, even though it doesn’t expand the number of charges.
The entire line of PTSD defense — which never should have been permitted but was in the order granting a new trial — only addresses Rasmea “filtering” out her conviction and imprisonment because of alleged torture (which the government disputes). But she told other lies on her immigration forms that had nothing whatsoever to do with the alleged torture and PTSD, namely her membership in a terrorist organization. That lie is provable by the government without even getting into her conviction of the bombings.
Similarly, referencing engaging “in a terrorist activity” is much broader and easier to prove, and does not depend on the legitimacy of her Israeli conviction.
So, this is a very important move for the prosecution, and makes the PTSD defense much less critical to the case. It also signals that the attempts by Rasmea supporters recently to bully the US Attorneys office with a flood of phone calls had no effect. The prosecution appears ready to see this case to the end.