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The Lynne Stewart Case


U.S. versus Lynne Stewart,  is a case currently before the 2nd Federal District in Manhattan.  Central to this case is whether Lynne Stewart aided the cause of terrorism by transmitting a message from Sheik Rahman, a fundamentalist Islamic cleric who is in jail as a result of involvement in the first World Trade Center bombing back in the mid 90's, to his followers. Stewart who has been serving as Rahman's attorney, allegedly violated a court gag order, by relaying a Rahman sermon to Muslims in Egypt.  The sermon describes Rahman's incarceration and his treatment at the hands of American authorities.  Rahman further accuses his jailers of ill treatment and says that he fears for his life and advises his followers not to accept nor believe his death as legitimate, should that occur, whether by supposedly natural causes or allegedly by his own hand.  The sermon then changes its tone and incites violence against America.


The sermon was introduced into evidence this past Thursday, October 7th, the last day of the prosecution's case.  As the prosecutor read portions of the statement, members of the jury became visibly perturbed.  Lynne Stewart previously stated that the sermon, independent of its content, is protected by the first amendment and for that reason she had a responsibility to relay it.  Stewart has been adamant that her only connection to Rahman is as his legal counsel.  She further claims that the government is using her to deliver a message to the legal profession-- not to defend certain clients. The trial is being heard in the same courtroom where the Rosenberg's were tried and convicted in the 1950's.  The trial will re-convene on Tuesday October 12th, 2004, at 9:00 am, Foley Square, Courtroom 110.


Further information on the progress of the case can be obtained online at Lynne Stewart's Web site,




ACLU versus the City of Newark


The American Civil Liberties Union sued the City of Newark last month by taking issue with two city ordinances that clamped down on freedom of speech, required leafleteers to obtain a city permit, and forbid rallies or marches without liability insurance.  On October 7th, a State Superior Court judge enjoined the city from enforcing these ordinances, citing them as unconstitutional.  The ACLU had argued that Newark's restrictions violate the right to freedom of speech under the United States and New Jersey Constitutions.  New Jersey Peace Action and the People's Organization for Progress were also Plaintiffs in the action. 




Posted  October  10, 2004

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