Today was much less eventful than the past few days have been. The witnesses were FBI Special Agent Brian Solecki and Evan Kohlmann. The defense moved for a mistrial for the fifth time since the trial began.
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Day 26: Under Direct-Examination by Aloke Chakravarty, Evan Kohlmann Calls Prayer Material Support
Jeffrey Groharing’s (JG) Direct Examination of FBI Reader Brian Solecki (BS).
JG and BS they read multiple chats between Tarek and others. The following is a general idea of the content of the different chats: the death of Zarqawi and how it took so much to level this one man; what Yemen is like, how the government is basically non-existant and how, as Tarek put it, Yemen is “old school;” Tarek coaching a friend on how to deal with a pro-war employer, saying that the friend was taking too literally the issue of not being friendly to one’s enemies; Ahmed Abousamra (AAS) and Tarek talking about how Kareem Abouzahra (KAZ) has changed, as evidenced by his shaving his beard; how people have big mouths and are gossiping about Tarek and his “story;” how Tarek went to Abul Hassan’s camp in Yemen [not sure who this refers to, but the word ‘camp’ is not exclusive to training; it can refer to schools as well]; discussion of “jihadi magazines;” AAS mentioning renouncing citizenship; discussion of starting a pharmacy business in Egypt. JG also showed a Mass. College of Pharmacy yearly schedule and had BS point out that Spring break of 2004 was in March 6-14, not February 4-16th. JG showed an email from Tarek that included a poem about the 9/11 hijackers. JG ended by showing about 34 images of the world trade center on 9/11; these pictures were thumbnails that were found on Tarek’s computer. JB had yesterday argued to prohibit showing the jury these photos because they were from cached space and not intentionally downloaded.
After the break, before the jury came back in the room, she moved for a mistrial, the 5th time this trial that the defense has done so. Just as before, it was denied. JB argued that at this point, the prejudicial nature of the evidence has gotten out of control. “It’s stronger than cumulative, it’s ad naseum,” JB protested. Once again, Judge O’Toole ruled that the fact that these images are cumulative might have something probative for the jury.
Janice Bassil’s (JB) Cross-Examination of BS
JB started her cross-examination of BS by pointing out the fact that these pictures were thumbnails that can be downloaded onto a computer without the user doing anything, and that some of them were clearly from news programs. She also established that BS had only read the chats the prosecution had selected for him. JB asked if BS was provided with a schedule of Tarek’s classes from the school year of ’03-’04, showing that he had no indication of when Tarek was required to be in school. She established that BS didn’t know if Tarek wrote the poem about 9/11 hijackers or not.
Aloke Chakravarty (AC) Direct Examination of Evan Kohlmann (EK)
EK is an international terrorism consultant and analyst. In previous hearings, the court has established that EK will not be allowed to testify about Tarek specifically; for example, he will not be allowed to say that Tarek is a terrorist or that his actions are consistent with someone who is a terrorist. EK began his testimony about global trends and the history of Al-Qaeda. EK isn’t in the business of classified intelligence; all of his expertise comes studying security and the history of Al Qaeda in school and from obsessive trolling and cataloguing of internet sites, forums, videos, communiques. He claims to have personally collected a database that has every single video, communique, magazine, and all forums message posted on any “extremist” forum since 2006. In testimony on Monday, EK is expected to be analyzing the hard drive that the FBI seized from Tarek’s house. EK has testified 23 times in court regarding terrorism, and he is getting paid by the hour in this case. Throughout his testimony, EK referred to Osama bin Laden in present tense; it seems he hasn’t updated his memorized script for testimony since last May. Two things from EK’s testimony stuck out as particularly insulting: When AC asked if he would be done with his testimony by Tuesday, he responded, “As they say in Arabic, Insha’Allah, or God willing.” The other thing he said was that Al Qaeda made a call for all types of material support, including prayer, money…He was stopped right there by Jay Carney’s objection and sidebar. Afterwards, the judge instructed the jury that, while EK was talking about material support, he was not talking about the statute or charge, simply about support. The judge instructed EK to refer to it as support from now on.
Please join us in court! Let’s show Tarek our support. We will be at Moakley Courthouse in Boston 9am-1pm, Monday through Friday. Email email@example.com for more details.