In an intriguing twist to a lawsuit with national security implications, lawyers defending a father and son who carried out a six-month undercover investigation of the Council on American-Islamic Relations have filed a reply claiming the D.C.-based Muslim-rights group has no claim because it does not legally exist.

Just two weeks after CAIR was named by the Justice Department in May 2007 as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorist finance case in U.S. history, the organization changed its name to the Council on American-Islamic Relations Action Network, explains attorney Daniel Horowitz in a motion to dismiss the case filed in federal court in the nation's capital.

"CAIR is not a valid entity and even if it were, the exposure of its inner workings is part of the price it pays for being a controversial group in a hotly contested arena," Horowitz declares in his reply to CAIR's lawsuit.

Horowitz says if the group responds to his brief by filing an amendment to change its registered name back to Council on American Islamic-Relations, he will seek an evidentiary hearing "to establish whether there is a genuine corporate entity that is 'CAIR' or whether 'CAIR' is a moniker used to represent the activities of a ruling group that oversees (in some way) the operations of other CAIR related groups."

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