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United States v. El-Mezain
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
664 F. 3d 467 (2011)
A federal jury convicted a corporate defendant, Holy Land Foundation (HLF), and five people associated with HLF (the fundraisers) (defendants) of conspiracy and substantive offenses for providing material aid and support to a designated terrorist organization, Hamas. The prosecution (plaintiff) alleged that through HLF, the fundraisers raised millions of dollars that were funneled to pro-Palestinian charitable entities in the West Bank and Gaza that were Hamas social institutions. Three of the documents (the PA documents) admitted at trial were seized by the Israeli military from the Palestinian Authority (PA), Palestine’s limited governing body. Two of the PA documents appeared to be on letterhead, but only one of them listed an author and date. The prosecution claimed that the PA documents had been prepared by the PA to describe its monitoring of Hamas’s associates. The district court admitted the PA documents under Federal Rule of Evidence 807, the residual exception to the hearsay rule, reasoning that the PA documents were analogous to public records that may be admitted under Federal Rule of Evidence 803(8). The fundraisers appealed, arguing in relevant part that the district court had erred by admitting the PA documents.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (King, J.)
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