As an international student, job options were severely limited for Sammeeh Hammoudeh. Immigration law severely restricts off-campus work. Before enrolling, he had to show University of South Florida officials that he had enough money to cover his studies and living expenses.
But jurors in the terror support trial of Hammoudeh, former USF professor Sami Al-Arian and two other defendants heard testimony Tuesday that Hammoudeh taught at a private school and worked at a think tank.
Such work, even done voluntarily, wouldn't be allowed, testified David Austell, USF's director for international student services.
"In no case can the student work off campus without authorization" from immigration officials, Austell said.
Prosecutors say he was on another payroll, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad's, and that Al- Arian brought him here to help launder its money.
His defense attorney denies that and says Hammoudeh organized charity for needy children in Palestine.
Hammoudeh pursued a number of graduate degrees at USF during the 1990s, filling out required visa applications each time. He also taught at the Islamic Academy of Florida, a private school Al-Arian helped run, and worked at a think tank Al-Arian founded.
Al-Arian, Hammoudeh and two other men are on trial on charges of racketeering, conspiracy and providing material support to the terrorist group.
Other records indicate the Islamic Community of Tampa, the formal name of Al-Arian's mosque, contributed nearly $36,000 in 1996 to cover Hammoudeh's education expenses while he pursued a master's degree in religious studies.
Meanwhile, retired FBI agent Edith "Eddie" Tuttle testified about a 1995 search of Al-Arian's home. Through Tuttle, prosecutors introduced dozens of new exhibits including videotapes, Al-Arian's personal telephone book, financial records and a 1993 Islamic Jihad calendar.
Defense attorney William Moffitt asked whether political material was seized during the search.
"I remember seizing items that said `Islamic Jihad' if you deem that political," she said.
Stephen Bernstein, Hammoudeh's attorney, argued that the chain of evidence on one exhibit may be in dispute. Tuttle testified that she found a money transfer request initiated by Hammoudeh in the Al- Arian home. But Bernstein showed the court a photocopy in which the think tank's name, WISE, was handwritten across the top with a box number indicating it may have been seized there.
If so, Bernstein said, it would have been found with other receipts seized that Hammoudeh received for donations.
U.S. District Judge James Moody allowed the receipt into evidence after Tuttle pointed to her initials on the original. She said she did that to "tie down" the evidence.