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United States v. Stewart

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
590 F.3d 93 (2009)


Facts

Attorney Lynne Stewart defended Abdel Rahman, a leader of a terrorist group convicted in 1995 of conspiring to bomb the World Trade Center and soliciting crimes of violence against the U.S. military and Egypt’s president. The Bureau of Prisons imposed Special Administrative Measures (SAMs) limiting Rahman’s access to mail, media, telephone, and visitors in prison. As a condition of accessing Rahman, Stewart signed affirmations agreeing to the SAMs, agreed not to transmit messages to or from third parties, and to use interpreters only to discuss legal matters. However, over a 14-month period, Stewart distracted prison guards to enable Rahman and his interpreter to covertly discuss issues related to the terrorist organization. Stewart also provided cover for the interpreter to transmit messages between Rahman and third parties, including a military leader widely believed to have been involved in a deadly terrorist attack. Stewart also told a reporter that Rahman had withdrawn his support of a cease-fire, prompting the terrorist group to plan another terrorist attack. The jury found Stewart conspired to defraud the United States, provided and concealed material support to a conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country and solicit violent crimes, and made false statements. The trial court sentenced Stewart to 28 months without deciding whether she committed perjury or obstructed justice. Stewart appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in preventing her from challenging the validity of the SAMs, and that they did not apply to her as an attorney.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Sack, J.)

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