The Justice Department has dropped a long-stalled second criminal prosecution of a former college professor who pleaded guilty to aiding a terrorist group following a high-profile trial in Florida that ended with a muddled verdict almost a decade ago.
Federal prosecutors in Alexandria, Va., filed a motion Friday seeking to dismiss a criminal contempt indictment brought in 2008 against former University of South Florida mechanical engineering professor Sami Al-Arian, who was born in Kuwait to Palestinian parents.
In the new filing, prosecutors said they decided to give up on the contempt case after delays precipitated by U.S. District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema sitting for years on a critical motion in the case without ruling one way or another.
“In light of the passage of time without resolution, the United States has decided that the best available course of action is to move to dismiss the indictment so that action can be taken to remove the defendant from the United States,” prosecutor Gordon Kromberg wrote.
In a statement released through Al-Arian’s attorney, the 56-year-old former professor’s family hailed the dismissal of the charges.