An attorney for one of Sami Al-Arian's codefendants is challenging prosecution claims that his client was on the payroll of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Defense attorney Stephen Bernstein points to the same translations of intercepted telephone calls prosecutors are relying on, but says the figures discussed leave no room to pay Sameeh Hammoudeh.
Bernstein spent the morning cross examining FBI agent Michael Wysocki, who analyzed dozens of bank accounts involving the defendants and organizations they helped run. Al-Arian, Hammoudeh, Hatim Fariz and Ghassan Ballut are charged with racketeering and conspiracy to support the Islamic Jihad.
Hammoudeh does receive nearly $20,000 to his Tampa bank account from Islamic Jihad founder Fathi Shikaki in 1994, records show. He later sends $4,000 to Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, then a director at an Islamic think tank in Tampa, and $16,000 to the think tank itself.
In other calls, Al-Arian and Islamic Jihad members discuss salary information for its members. Bernstein has repeatedly tried to show that Hammoudeh is mentioned apart from the others and that references to him are not about salary.
He also is challenging Wysocki's claim that bank records fail to substantiate that Hammoudeh and others failed to make donations to needy Palestinians in Syria, Lebanon and the Occupied Territories despite receipts and lists of orphans seized during searches in 1995.
Bernstein asked about other records seized, which he said were never translated by the government, that might lead to a different conclusion. But, thus far, Bernstein has not shown Wysocki any additional documents that challenge the accuracy of his review.
Such evidence might be presented when defense attorneys get to call witnesses. Federal prosecutor Terry Zitek has indicated the prosecution could complete its case by the end of the month.