Sami Al-Arian desperately sought evidence that could spring his brother-in- law from jail.
He needed receipts for contributions made a decade earlier. He needed witnesses for an August 2000 immigration hearing to say his charity, the Islamic Committee for Palestine, sent money abroad for clinics, orphans and other needy people.
Prosecutors say that scramble was riddled with lies to conceal Al-Arian and Mazen Al-Najjar's involvement with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group.
Obstruction of justice is one of 53 counts against Al-Arian and three other men. Transcripts of secretly recorded telephone calls by Al-Arian and his fellow defendants read to jurors Wednesday showed the effort's urgency.
The men also are charged with racketeering, conspiracy and providing material support to terrorists.
In one call, Al-Arian wants a receipt, but couldn't remember where he sent money in 1990. It was a clinic in Tulkarm or Nablus, both West Bank towns, he told co-defendant Sameeh Hammoudeh.
"If it wasn't them who received the amount, they will not give [a receipt] to us," Hammoudeh said.
The next day, Al-Arian turned to Basheer Nafi for help. This time, Al-Arian says the money went to a maternity clinic in Gaza.
Al-Najjar had been jailed for more than three years pending a deportation order based on secret evidence that linked him to the Islamic Jihad.
Al-Najjar and Nafi, who live abroad, also are charged with perjury for testimony they gave in the immigration hearing. Al-Najjar was released in December 2000 after an immigration judge found no evidence the charity was connected to terrorism.
He was arrested again in November 2001 after his deportation appeal was rejected. He left the United States in August 2002 and his whereabouts is unclear today.
Other transcripts read Wednesday showed defendant Hatim Fariz sending money in May 2002 to a man prosecutors say is part of the Islamic Jihad. Salah Abu Hassanein complained that "our cousins are giving us very hard times."
FBI agent Kerry Myers testified that, in this case, "cousins" is a reference to rival terrorist group Hamas. In the call, Hassanein says "they took it all" about donations to charities in the Occupied Territories.
In other calls, "cousins" is a reference to the Israelis.
Fariz, who had recently moved to Florida from Chicago, complained people in the local Muslim community were stingy, but he still sent Hassanein some money.
"I gave him four [thousand] and told him to deliver them to the guys," Fariz said.
In past testimony, Myers has said "the guys" is a reference to the Islamic Jihad.