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Lynne Stewart and her cohorts knew that a word from Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman could trigger a wave of violence when they helped the imprisoned terrorist break through a government-imposed cordon of silence, a prosecutor told a federal court jury Wednesday. Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Dember told jurors in Manhattan that Stewart abused her position as counsel to the sheik when she joined a conspiracy to defy a ban on his communications with the outside world and broke the law when she provided material support to a government-designated terror organization in Egypt called Islamic Group. In his closing argument at the end of a six-month trial, Dember said that Stewart’s actions helped a conspiracy by a co-defendant, Ahmed Sattar, to murder and kidnap people abroad. He said the veteran defense lawyer acted intentionally once when she lied to the government and broke prison regulations by smuggling messages to and from the sheik with the aid of co-defendant and interpreter Mohamed Yousry. She also acted deliberately when she provided aid to the outlaw Islamic Group by announcing the sheik’s withdrawal of support for a cessation of terror attacks in Egypt in June 2000, the prosecutor said. The rules designed to seal the sheik from outside contact are called special administrative measures, or SAMs. “The purpose of the SAMs was simple,” Dember said, “to prevent acts of violence and terrorism — to prevent him from receiving or passing terroristic messages.” Dember told the jury the evidence proves Sattar used Stewart’s special access to her imprisoned client to preserve the sheik’s role as the “ultimate arbiter” of disputes within Islamic Group, including a dispute over whether to continue its cease-fire on attacks against the Egyptian government. The press release, Dember said, advocated “a return to the violence and a return to the killing that existed before the cease-fire was put in place.” Four months after Stewart issued the press release on the sheik’s position, Dember said, Sattar followed by joining an Islamic Group military leader Rifa’i Ahmad Taha in drafting a violent screed. The prosecutor called it “an ugly hateful fatwa calling for the murder of Jews wherever they could be found.” The fatwa, or religious edict, was issued in the sheik’s name, and Dember said the evidence proved he did not disavow its message when informed about it by Yousry. Dember employed a conversational but emphatic tone with the jury in the first of what is expected to be at least three days of closing arguments. He was expected to complete his closing arguments against the defendants this morning. Next will come arguments on behalf of Yousry, represented by David Stern; Sattar, who is represented by David Ruhnke, Kenneth Paul and Barry Fallick; and finally Stewart, who is represented by Michael Tigar. KEY EVIDENCE The mountain of evidence placed before the jury since the case began in June included video and audio tapes of key visits by Stewart and Yousry to the prison in 2000 and 2001, as well as tapes of Sattar on the telephone with associates in the Middle East, including Taha. Dember said the government’s case is best explained by two key pieces of evidence: the press release by Stewart and the fatwa that followed. Stewart’s alleged provision of aid to the Islamic Group came in the form of “personnel” — the provision of the ostensibly unavailable sheik to the group. Dember said that “providing” the sheik to the group was “a secret, stealth jailbreak, but a jailbreak nonetheless.” Stewart, he said, deliberately lied to the U.S. government when she signed attorney affirmations promising to abide by the SAMs in 2000 and 2001. With the apparent goal of keeping jurors focused on the press release and the fatwa, Dember tried to clear the brush by telling them several things that the trial was “not about.” The trial was “not about” how the Egyptian government conducts itself, the “peaceful religion of Islam” or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he said, and it was definitely “not about what these defendants thought about the SAMs.” Stewart “had the capability and the training to challenge” the restrictions, Dember said, but instead chose to “lie about them and violate them.” Dember derided Stewart for testifying during the trial that she felt it was proper to pass letters to the sheik and issue statements on his behalf because there existed a “bubble” within the SAMs restrictions that preserved a meaningful attorney-client relationship. Dember said the evidence showed that Sattar had tried without success to get the sheik’s other lawyers, Ramsey Clark and Abdeen Jabara, to release a statement from the sheik withdrawing support for the cease-fire. Clark, who testified on behalf of Stewart at the trial, had issued a statement on behalf of the sheik expressing support for the cease-fire when it was first declared — although at a time when the SAMs were first invented and were in a less restrictive form. “He clearly didn’t think there was some magical bubble out there that we operate under” as lawyers, Dember said, referring to Clark. “That’s because the bubble you heard about in this case was a total fabrication. Ramsey Clark was not going to issue a statement where Abdel Rahman wanted violence.”

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