These are some of the new witnesses presented at the Holy Land trial this year after last year's case resulted in a mistrial:
For the government:
• Robert McBrien, of the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, addressed a key defense claim: that the zakat charity committees were not considered financial fronts for Hamas because they are not individually listed on government terrorist watch lists. He said that front groups change too often for them all to be individually banned and that it is illegal to support any group that operates for the benefit of terrorists, even if it is not on the lists.
• Georgetown University professor and terrorism expert Bruce Hoffman told jurors that "almost without exception," successful terrorist groups throughout history have relied on charitable front groups to raise money and build good will among those they seek to control – in Hamas' case, the Palestinians. These front groups rarely openly advertise their affiliation, but the people they help "know there is this connection," he said.
For the defense:
• Georgetown Islamic affairs professor John Esposito testified that words like jihad and Islamist do not always connote extremism. He also stressed that Islam is not a radical faith, but one that recognizes Christianity and Judaism as legitimate religions.
• David McDonald, an Indiana University expert on Palestinian music, told jurors that some of the lyrics calling for martyrdom and jihad in songs performed at Holy Land fundraisers – which the government cites as evidence that the defendants were Hamas sympathizers – had nothing to do with the terrorist group. He said most of the music had deep cultural roots that went beyond struggles with the Israelis.