Rather than face a re—trial, former professor Sami al—Arian has negotiated a plea. The New York Sun reports:
Sami Al—Arian, has pleaded guilty to aiding Palestinian Islamic Jihad and agreed to serve more jail time before being deported from America, according to records made public yesterday by a federal court in Tampa.
Judge James Moody Jr. formally accepted Al—Arian's plea yesterday to one count of conspiracy to assist a designated terrorist entity. Prosecutors and Al—Arian agreed that he should be sentenced to between 46 and 57 months' incarceration. Judge Moody has agreed to impose a sentence in that range at a hearing he set for May 1.
The former University of South Florida professor was arrested in February 2003 and accused of being Palestinian Islamic Jihad's leader in America. He has been in custody ever since and is eligible, under federal law, to credit for time served and a reduction for "good time."
If Judge Moody agrees the prosecutors' recommendation that Al—Arian receive a sentence at the low end of the range, his release and deportation could come as soon as June. The plea agreement does not specify where the Kuwaiti—born professor would be sent after completing his sentence, but does stipulate that he will not be deported to Canada or Mexico.
Never forget that the New York Times thought this felon a relatively benign figure:
"An impassioned advocate for Palestinian independence, Mr. Al—Arian never made any secret of his disdain for the Israeli occupation."
AIM reported on his friends:
Times columnist Kristof complained that officials at the University of South Florida had started proceedings to fire Al—Arian — "essentially for being a fiery Palestinian activist who embarrasses them." The New York Times editorial board called the university's efforts to get rid of Al—Arian "groundless" and "a mockery of free speech."
Eric Boehlert of Salon.com wrote a series of articles that ran under the headline, "The prime—time smearing of Sami Al—Arian." The subheadline said, "By pandering to anti—Arab hysteria, NBC, Fox News, Media General and Clear Channel radio disgraced themselves —— and ruined an innocent professor's life."
The Weekly Standard counted up a number of Kristof's errors. Too many to list here.
Ed Lasky 4 18 06