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Witness Roster With both sides expecting to spend at least two months in front of a jury, the criminal trial of the Richardson-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development and five of its associates promises to offer a window into Middle East politics. Scheduled to start July 16 before Chief U.S. District Judge A. Joe Fish of the Northern District of Texas in Dallas, the trial in United States v. Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, et al. will involve testimony from a long roster of authorities on the Middle East, according to witness lists filed by both sides on May 21. The government lists as a possible witness a federal prisoner who will tell the jury about the Muslim Brotherhood � which Newsweek described in April as “a worldwide Islamic movement that the United States has shunned because of its alleged ties to terrorism” � and some of the defendants’ alleged involvement in the group. Among those testifying for the defense will be an expert who will explain what the defendants say is the commonly misunderstood meaning of the term “martyrs.” Some surprising names on the witness list include: former U.S. Rep. John W. Bryant, testifying for the defense, and Ramzi Baker, a brother of HLF executive and defendant Shukri Abu Baker, who will testify for the government. Bryant, who served in the House as a Democrat representing Dallas from 1983 to 1997, now is a partner in Dallas’ Glast, Phillips & Murray. He represented HLF from the late 1990s until 2001, shortly before the U.S. Department of Treasury seized the charity’s assets. Bryant “[w]ill testify regarding HLF’s determination to comply with the law and its efforts to obtain assistance from the government in identifying organizations and individuals the government believed to be associated with Hamas . . .” according to the defendants’ joint witness list. Bryant says HLF executives tapped him “to get to the bottom” of allegations that were appearing in the news media from unidentified Israeli and U.S. government sources that HLF had Hamas connections. Bryant says he visited with officials from the State, Treasury and Justice Departments and never understood where the allegations had first surfaced. Jim Jacks, the assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Texas who is prosecuting the case, and Nancy Hollander, a partner in Freedman Boyd Daniels Hollander Goldberg & Ives in Albuquerque, N.M., who represents the HLF and Shukri Abu Baker, decline comment. Dinged on Fees Did the city of Austin move too slowly in a case involving a dispute with a restaurant? One judge thinks so. On May 29, Austin’s 345th District Judge Stephen Yelenosky denied the city’s motion for $242,399 in attorneys’ fees in City of Austin v. Trudy’s Texas Star Inc., holding in part that the city should have acted faster to have Trudy’s South Congress Cafe remove a deck that should not have been built. The city alleged in its original petition that Trudy’s built the deck without obtaining building permits and part of the deck extends into the city’s right of way. Assistant City Attorney Nancy Matchus, the city’s lead attorney on Trudy’s, says the city issued stop-work orders in February, March and April 2005 before filing the suit later in 2005. Yelenosky had granted the city’s motion for summary judgment in the case on May 1. However, Yelenosky held at a May 29 hearing that it would be inequitable to award the city attorneys’ fees. “The city sent my client on a wild goose chase,” alleges Trudy’s attorney Eric J. Taube, a partner in Austin’s Hohmann Taube & Summers. Taube says the city told Trudy’s it could build off-site handicapped parking and then rescinded that decision. Matchus says the city initially told the restaurant it could have on-site or off-site handicapped parking and approved a site plan with the parking off site. But Matchus says the city code prohibits off-site handicapped parking and the city could not waive the code provision. The city argued in its motion for attorneys’ fees that it had to add three assistant city attorneys to the case because of Trudy’s “11th-hour explosion of legal maneuvers.” Matchus maintains Trudy’s scheduled back-to-back depositions and set hearings on dates when she was not available. Taube says Trudy’s plans to appeal Yelenosky’s decision to require the restaurant to remove the deck to Austin’s 3rd Court of Appeals. Matchus says the city will not appeal Yelenosky’s denial of attorneys’ fees. “We respect his decision,” she says.

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