Very damaging to Rasmea’s defense, since none of her PTSD claims relate to lying about her involvement in the PFLP.
We recently reported that a Superseding Indictment was filed against Rasmea Odeh, the convicted terrorist who faces re-trial on an immigration fraud charge.
Rasmea 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 re-trial was scheduled for January 10, 2017, but that date is in doubt because of additional allegations that now are in a superseding indictment. When we reported previously, we had to rely on descriptions of the Superseding Indictment by the prosecution in its press release and court papers, because the Superseding Indictment was not yet available in the court’s electronic docket.
- Feds expand immigration fraud indictment of convicted terrorist Rasmea Odeh
- Rasmea Odeh prosecutors: At new trial, we’ll prove Rasmea was a terrorist
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.
The Superseding Indictment now is on the electronic docket, though it appears to have been filed on December 13. The full document, titled First Superseding Indictment, is embedded at the bottom of the post (pdf. here).
The First Superseding Indictment details Rasmea’s involvement in a bombing and attempted bombing, her conviction, release in a prisoner exchange, and her false answers on both visa and naturalization applications. We have gone over these issues before, and they are not new.
The key “new” allegations concern Rasmea’s involvement in a designated terrorist organization, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)– those allegations aren’t really new as a general matter, but are now included in a charging instrument so that there is no dispute the prosecution can present evidence on them.
In Rasmea’s first trial, the prosecution was not allowed to refer to her as a terrorist. But now that issue will be front and center and part of the prosecution’s burden of proof. Defense counsel is not happy:
Michael Deutsch, an attorney for Odeh, called the superseding indictment with additional allegations against her “an effort by the government to inject terrorism into the case as a way to prejudice her rights to a fair trial.”
“They’re going to try and prove she was a member of what they call a terrorist organization, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP),” and use that to “color the jury’s evaluation of the evidence of whether she knowingly lied or not in her naturalization application.”
The new allegations also provide a basis for a conviction unrelated to Rasmea’s PTSD “filtering” defense, since unrelated to the alleged torture-induced confession for the bombings. Again, defense counsel is furious:
Michael Deutsch, Odeh’s lead attorney, says the PTSD defense would not apply to these allegations, since they allegedly took place before she was tortured by Israeli interrogators.
If Drain accepts the new indictment, the government will dedicate a portion of the trial to proving these allegations.
“This is the government’s response to the fact that we intend to put in the fact that she was tortured and suffers from PTSD,” Deutsch said, adding that it is nearly impossible to get a fair trial when accused of being a terrorist.
A hearing is scheduled on Rasmea’s request to postpone the January 10 trial. The prosecution does not oppose the motion, and has indicated it will seek to take two depositions abroad regarding the new allegations (emphasis added):
In that connection, the government intends to seek authorization from the Court to take depositions of two witnesses located overseas and who have first-hand knowledge of Defendant Odeh’s involvement in terrorist activities. That motion could not have been filed prior to return of the superseding indictment, because those witnesses’ testimony only became relevant based on the new allegations in the superseding indictment.
All in all, the First Superseding Indictment, assuming it survives legal challenges from the defense, is very damaging to Rasmea’s defense, since none of her PTSD claims relate to lying about her involvement in the PFLP.Here are the key paragraphs in the First Superseding Indictment:
1. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine ( also referred to in this Indictment as “the PFLP”) is designated by the President of the United States, for purposes of United States law, as a “Specially Designated Terrorist” pursuant to Executive Order 12947. See 60 Fed. Reg. 5079 (Jan. 23, 1995).
2. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine is designated by the Secretary of State of the United States, for purposes of United States law, as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization.” See 62 Fed. Reg. 52650-01 (Oct. 8, 1997).
12. At the time she applied for her immigrant visa, Defendant Odeh was inadmissible to the United States, meaning that by law she was not eligible to receive a visa. Defendant Odeh was inadmissible to the United States because she had “engaged in a terrorist activity” as that term is defined by Title 8, United States Code, Section 1182(a)(3)(B)~ also known as Section 212(a)(3)(B) of the Immigration and Naturalization Act, or INA.
13. At the time she applied for her immigrant visa, Defendant Odeh also was inadmissible to the United States because of her criminal history, and also because she had knowingly given false material answers to the questions referred to in paragraphs 10-12 of this Indictment.
14. Notwithstanding Defendant Odeh’s inadmissibility to the United States, on April 18, 1995, she received her immigrant visa. Because by law she was inadmissible, however, Defendant Odeh never was “lawfully admitted for permanent residence” and was ineligible to later receive United States citizenship.
23. By law, various acts must be considered by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in determining whether a person has good moral character. For example, relevant factors include whether the person has given “false testimony for the purpose of obtaining any benefits” under the Immigration and Naturalization Act; and a person’s criminal history, including whether the person has ever been convicted of an offense or imprisoned.
24. Each question on the naturalization application relating to good moral character is material to the decision of whether or not any applicant, including Defendant Odeh, would be eligible for United States citizenship, that is, each answer had a natural tendency to influence the decision of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services as to whether or not to grant citizenship.
(Unlawful Procurement of Naturalization~ 18 U.S.C. § 1425(a))
B. Defendant Odeh violated the Immigration and Naturalization Act’s requirements for naturalization, and thus was not eligible for naturalization, because she never had properly obtained Lawful Permanent Resident status, and thus was barred by law from naturalizing as a citizen. Defendant Odeh was inadmissible to the United States for having “engaged in a terrorist activity” as that term is defined in the Immigration arid Naturalization Act.
C. Defendant Odeh violated the Immigration and Naturalization Act’s requirements for naturalization, and thus was not eligible for naturalization, because she never had properly obtained Lawful Permanent Resident status, and thus was barred by law from naturalizing as a citizen. Defendant Odeh was ineligible for an immigrant visa because (1) she had been convicted of one or more crimes of moral turpitude; and (2) she had been convicted of two or more offenses for which the aggregate sentences were five years or more.
D. Defendant Odeh committed criminal offenses against the United States pertaining to naturalization, by making false material statements both orally and in writing in connection with her application for naturalization (Form N-400), in violation of criminal statutes pertaining to naturalization including Title 18, United States Code Sections 1001 and 1015. Defendant Odeh’s false material statements related to ( 1) her association with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a Designated Terrorist Organization, as set forth in paragraphs 3-7 and 19-21 of the General Allegations of this Indictment; (2) her criminal history, including her history of imprisonment, as set forth in paragraphs 4-5 and 24-29 of the General Allegations of this Indictment; and (3) her history of having made false statements in the past to one or more U.S. government officials relating to her immigration to the United States, as set forth in paragraphs 30-31 of the General Allegations of this Indictment.
E. Defendant Odeh violated the Immigration and Naturalization Act’s requirements for naturalization, and thus was not eligible for naturalization, as she lacked good moral character as that term is defined in the Immigration and Naturalization Act.
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