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Mackler reports: "The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit today confirmed the 2010 decision of Federal District Court Judge John Koeltl to change his 28-month jail sentence for radical attorney and human rights activist, Lynne Stewart, to ten years."

Human Rights Attorney Lynne Stewart is serving 10 years in prison. (photo: ChannerTV)
Human Rights Attorney Lynne Stewart is serving 10 years in prison. (photo: ChannerTV)

Court Confirms Ten-Year Sentence for Lynne Stewart

By Jeff Mackler, Justice for Lynne Stewart

04 July 12


he U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit today confirmed the 2010 decision of Federal District Court Judge John Koeltl to change his 28-month jail sentence for radical attorney and human rights activist, Lynne Stewart, to ten years. The court’s June 28, 2012 decision was not unexpected.

Following federal prosecutors’ appeal of what was widely considered a “lenient sentence,” the Second Circuit all but ordered a compliant Koeltl to re-sentence Stewart and harshly. Koeltl did just that, forcing Stewart to appeal to the very court that originally pressured Koeltl, in what was widely considered a “career decision” to do Stewart great harm.

Stewart was convicted at an outrageous 2005 New York frame-up trial on five counts of conspiracy to aid and abet and provide material support to terrorism. Her crime? Representing the “blind Sheik,” the Egyptian cleric, Omar Abdel Rachman, who had also been convicted on trumphed-up conspiracy charges. Stewart issued a press release from her client stating his views on how Egyptian Muslim oppositionists should react to the ongoing crimes and murders of Egypt’s then President Hosni Mubarak.

Stewart was convicted of violating a vaguely-worded court-ordered SAM (Special Administrative Measure) that barred her from revealing her client’s opinions. The penalty for such violations had traditionally been a mild slap on the wrist, perhaps a warning to not repeat the “violation” and to bar attorney-client visits for a few months. Barring an unlikely Supreme Court reversal, she will now serve her ten-year sentence with perhaps a one-year or ten percent reduction for “good behavior.” She is presently incarcerated at FMC Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas.

Koeltl’s original 28-month sentence statement, in the face of federal prosecutors demanding 30 years, noted that Stewart, known for representing the poor and oppressed for three decades with little financial remuneration, was a “credit to the legal profession.” Stewart served as lead counsel for her client along with former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who testified on her behalf during the trial. Clark himself had issued similar press releases with no punishment. Indeed, an indignant prosecutor during Stewart’s trial suggested that Clark himself be charged with conspiracy, but his superiors decided that imprisoning the nation’s former top attorney was not yet in their game plan and the suggestion was ignored.

The Second Circuit decision was based on the allegations that Stewart demonstrated insufficient deference to the original sentence. The court claimed that her statement to the media immediately following her sentence that, “I can do 28 months standing on my head,” demonstrated contempt for the legal system. I was standing next to Stewart at that moment and saw nothing other than a great expression of relief that she would not be sentenced, in effect to death, based on the 30 years that federal prosecutors sought. Stewart entered the sentencing hearing on that day, totally ignorant of whether her sentence would be the deeply punishing 30 years demanded by the federal prosecutors or perhaps something that she, 70 years old at the time, could “live with” and look forward to a normal life after having served the time. She carried nothing but a plastic bag, some medicines and a toothbrush.

The Second Circuit also too umbrage at Stewart’s courageous statement when she took the stand to make her closing remarks at her trial. Her attorney at that time, Michael Tiger, asked, referring to Stewart’s issuing the press release on her client’s behalf, “Lynne, if you had to do it all over again would you do the same thing?” With a tear in her eye, Stewart stated, “I would hope that I would have the courage to do it again” She paused and continued, “I would do it again.” Stewart also insisted that her sworn duty to represent her client had to weighed against the formalities of laws or court orders that prevented such diligent representation.

This refusal to bow to authority, to show the “required deference” to legal bullies with power, outraged her persecutors, who sought vengeance in the rigged criminal “justice” system.

Stewart’s now rejected appeal argued three essential points:

I. In relying on Lynne Stewart’s public statements to enhance the original sentence of 28 months, her First Amendment rights were abridged
II. The fourfold increase in the sentence was substantively unreasonable and failed to balance her lifetime of contribution to the community and country with the criminal act of which she was convicted.
III. The Judge’s findings of Perjury and Misuse of her position as an Attorney on which he also based the increase, were error.

“Free Lynne Stewart” must remain the rallying cry of all those who cherish civil liberties and democratic rights. Stewart, like so many others, but perhaps among the first tier, was a victim of the government-promoted malicious and murderous “war on terror” aimed at stifling all dissent and imprisoning the innocent to justify its wars against working people at home and against the oppressed and exploited across the globe.

Jeff Mackler is the West Coast Coordinator of the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee your social media marketing partner


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We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

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Founder, Reader Supported News

+73 # massager2002 2012-07-04 16:12
Judicial terrorism; sounds like USSR or Communist China!!!
+14 # paulrevere 2012-07-05 14:35
Bradley Manning, Don Seigelman, Tim DeChristopher, Jordan Halliday, literally thousands of OWS demonstrators, tens of thousands of pot smokers...

+5 # John Locke 2012-07-05 19:02
paulrevere: Again, I say, when the end to our republic is fully recognized it will be through the judiciary...Thi s is where the bastian of corruption lies!
0 # Richard1908 2012-07-08 02:28
No it doesn't. It sounds like the United States of America,
+76 # KrazyFromPolitics 2012-07-04 17:32
Further evidence that our legal system is broken, and administered by thugs.
+62 # Scott479 2012-07-04 17:45
This is what Chris Hedges' "Time to Get Crazy" addresses and serves as notice we are all indeed cannon fodder/useless eaters in the eyes of our rulers.
+47 # Activista 2012-07-04 20:21
Scary - the USA is a TOTALITARIAN state.
"US overnment-promo ted malicious and murderous “war on terror” aimed at stifling all dissent and imprisoning the innocent to justify its wars against working people at home and against the oppressed and exploited across the globe"
-21 # RLF 2012-07-05 06:20
Rachman was not a poor oppressed person...he planned the first bombing of the world trade center and she released his propaganda to the press. The man is a terrorist and entitled to a defense...somet hing he would in all probability deny any of us...but I agree he is not entitled to spread his hate and pretend it is defense.
+19 # Activista 2012-07-05 10:00
..but I agree he is not entitled to spread his hate ..." aka criticize the system?
Same cliche used for putting dissidents to prisons (MUCH less than 10 years)for publishing samizdats.
This is state - totalitarian plot - to silence opponents of this murderous regime.
Change is coming and authorities are scared.
+11 # Michael_K 2012-07-05 11:41
He didn't "plan" anything. If you bothered to dig a little, you'll find that even back then, the FBI was plotting, inciting and supplying any malcontented imbeciles that they could provoke into a situation in which they could claim credit. Unfortunately, they tend to be transparent and revealed to all, or fail and have an actual explosion take place. Not that the "Sheikh" isn't a reprehensible imbecile, but he was NOT the "mastermind" to anything.
+61 # BillJean 2012-07-04 21:35
It would have been great to provide a link to her defense committee.

It's okay to be a banker who rips off the entire country but goldarnit don't be an activist who stands on principles. Shameful.
+3 # Dion Giles 2012-07-05 01:44
+4 # Kootenay Coyote 2012-07-05 07:39
+48 # Dion Giles 2012-07-04 21:56
Google for information on the elected President of Egypt's pledge only a few days ago to work for the release of this man. Anyone with access to the Egyptian President may find a way to alert him to the plight of the lawyer who represented Rahman.

Rahman may or may not have been implicated in the 1993 bombing of the WTC, but punishing a lawyer so savagely - or at all - for disclosing what the man said is outrageous on the scale of victimising Bradley Manning and trying to grab Julian Assange.
+21 # grouchy 2012-07-04 22:25
Good bloody grief! Disgusting. What are we coming to anyway?
+35 # Montague 2012-07-04 23:15
For once I really am staggered. By this logic, anyone who is sentenced to jail and makes ANY comment, even "I don't deserve this, I swear I'm innocent, it aint fair", could be hauled back to court and have the sentence quadrupled! And what's up with the compliant judge? They wanted 30 years for issuing a press release? While here in UK a teenager got a community order for raping a 5 year old. The crooks in charge don't even pretend the system is fair anymore.
+12 # Granny Weatherwax 2012-07-05 01:32
Land of the free.
+2 # markovchhaney 2012-07-05 18:48
You tell 'em, Esme!
+3 # John Locke 2012-07-05 19:05
Granny Weatherwax: Yes as long as we do as we are told!
+21 # readerz 2012-07-05 01:37
In another article, it says that many law students are not able to find legal work and are defaulting on student loans; some are suicidal. There is plenty of legal work, just that it isn't paid nearly enough or at all.

But to say that good lawyers who can't find enough legal work are under attack in this country might have seemed paranoid, except that the case of Lynne Stewart proves the truth. What is law anyway, if not the first defense of the rights of the citizens? This sounds like a case for Amnesty International; I hope they pursue it.
-21 # stannadel 2012-07-05 02:56
Mackler's defense of Rahman as well as Stewart undermines his credibility here.
+31 # engelbach 2012-07-05 07:05
The shame is that of the legal profession.

Every practicing attorney who vigorously represents defendants is now at risk.

That the bar associations of every state have not risen in protest and their attorneys have not gone on strike is as chilling as the complicity of the German judiciary in the crimes of the Nazis.
+15 # Michael_K 2012-07-05 11:44
Exactly! As Ralph Nader's article, reproduced here a week or so ago, asked: "where were the lawyers?"

You would think the lawyers would rise up and shut the system down in protest for its blatant lack of justice or - often enough - lack of legality.
+4 # John Locke 2012-07-05 19:07
Michael_K: THey won't, most are wimps afraid to cross the Bar or the Judge, most are basically just to scared or too incompetent! there are only a hand full of good attorneys in the US!
+18 # Guy 2012-07-05 08:18
What a corrupt hypocritical judicial system for everyone to see in the land of the free.........
+9 # Michael_K 2012-07-05 11:45
It is unreasonable to expect justice from politically appointed gangsters in black mu-muus... Really!
+20 # Buddha 2012-07-05 10:24
That is the government sending a message, like a mafioso sending the "message" of a fish wrapped in newspaper that an enemy now "sleeps with the fishes", that anybody who provides competent legal representation to those whom the government wants put in a very deep hole forever in their "war on terror" does so at their own peril. Pure fascist tactics, and a shame to see happening here in America. If our government's case against these defendants is so weak that they need to terrorize their legal defense, then perhaps we are doing it wrong.
+8 # Activista 2012-07-05 14:04
"Pure fascist tactics, and a shame to see happening here in America"
+14 # Edwina 2012-07-05 10:49
Ideology seems to have trumped justice in the case of Lynn Stewart. If we cannot look to the courts as a check on executive power, we must gain it in the streets.
+12 # Michael_K 2012-07-05 11:47
Quoting Edwina:
Ideology seems to have trumped justice in the case of Lynn Stewart. If we cannot look to the courts as a check on executive power, we must gain it in the streets.

They don't seem to realise that this is the message they are sending.. It is very dangerous to strip a population of any recourse other than violence.
+6 # John Locke 2012-07-05 19:11
Michael_K: Precisely the point, could that be the real reason for the drone surveillance over the US and militarizing the local police, do you think maybe they suspect a revolution is coming?

They aren’t smart enough to think that maybe they should back off…they feel so smug that they don’t even bother to hide what they do. It’s like so what you gonna do about it…
+15 # grindermonkey 2012-07-05 11:03
It seems to me that a Presidential Pardon is in order.
+5 # angryspittle 2012-07-05 16:33
Dream on. Not in an election year.
+13 # Pikewich 2012-07-05 13:29

All the justice you can afford if you happen to be born into an approved family.

No point in obeying the law any longer, is there?
+6 # angryspittle 2012-07-05 16:30
This is a travesty of justice. Jailing her is the equivalent of Massachusetts prosecuting John Adams for defending the British troops in the Boston Massacre. (which of course didn't happen)
+4 # John Locke 2012-07-05 19:13
angryspittle: If it happened today he would be prosecuted, The Government doesn't like to have the accused put on a real defense, they like the attorneys to just take them through the system without rocking any boats...
+3 # tomtom 2012-07-06 09:47
I'm wondering, how much Our government is on automátic pilot, habitually and thoughtlessly making life more and more miserable for it's citizenry, because this pattern of punishing, torturing and executing Those who stand up for the wretched, downtrodden, weak and poor masses is blatantly spanking us to rebelión. Are they this stupid, to think that people won't get tired of cruel and unneccessary tyranny? The angrier they make us, the more seveer Our retaliation. We're overdue for a Spring Cleaning.
+2 # Capn Canard 2012-07-07 07:02
Our government is controlled by criminals and some of the best evidence is the collapse of the credibility of the courts. A lawyer who defends the poor is an easy target for the Plutocracy to destroy and rest assured America, your MainStream Media will not report this.
+1 # Doggone 2012-07-07 14:53
She is obviously a threat; smart, articulate and she knows the law. It is a shame and a terrible crime of injustice.

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