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The Lynne Stewart Trial
by David Cole
On February 10, a jury in New York City convicted longtime activist attorney Lynne Stewart and two others on all counts in one of the Bush Administration's most heralded terrorism trials since 9/11. Stewart, a 65-year-old who has never committed a violent act, now faces twenty to thirty years in prison. Do you feel safer?
Perhaps more than any other, this case illustrates how out of hand things have gotten in the "war on terrorism." To inflate its successes in ferreting out terrorism, the Justice Department turned an administrative infraction into a terrorism conviction that, unless reversed, will likely send Stewart to prison for the rest of her life. To make sure the charges would stick, the prosecution tried the case in the most inflammatory and prejudicial way possible, introducing as "background" reams of evidence of terrorism that had nothing to do with Stewart's actions.