On Stand for Third Straight Day, Aref Becomes Agitated

Mistranslation: the government fires back at defense attorneys' claims that Yassin Aref did not understand the phony terror plot he is accused of supporting.

From over 50 hours of taped conversations, down to word-by-word, Friday, the government tried to show that Yassin Aref was fully aware a missile was involved in the cash transactions he witnessed.

The Imam of a Central Avenue mosque is accused of knowingly aiding a phony terrorism plot, set up as a sting by the FBI.

He sat on the stand and repeatedly told his attorney that he did not understand the word “missile,” even going as far to say that he had never heard it before his arrest.

But prosecutors countered Yassin Aref's claim, entering into evidence notes the Imam used to learn English, where he wrote the words:

  • weapon
  • new-cleur (nuclear)
  • tank
  • rocet (rocket) = missile

Proof, the government says, that Aref knew what a missile was during the FBI sting.

Aref could not pinpoint when the notes were written.

“If it's his word, and he said 'I didn't understand it', and the FBI is saying 'yes, you did understand it', that's one thing,” says former prosecutor and NEWS10 legal analyst, Arnold Proskin.

Proskin goes on to say, “but now there's another item that's coming in a piece of paper, that says 'missile, this is what this means' and 'bombing, this is what this means'…then this could be the thing that says 'oh, wait a minute, who's telling the truth in this thing.”

During hours of cross-examination, a huge change in the Imam's personality on the stand. Previously on the stand, he was eager, confident; often smiling and giggling. But under cross-examination, Aref became agitated, angry; sometimes pointing and shaking his fists at prosecutors.

“If you can show him (Aref) going off the deep end, then this is what you want to do…because, as you know, when people get upset, they say things that they wouldn't say if they are calm and rational,” Proskin says.

The trial is expected to wrap up sometime next week. When Aref's attorneys rest their case, Kevin Luibrand – Mohammed Hossain's attorney – will then take his turn.

Stay tuned to NEWS10 and wten.com for continuing coverage of the trial.

###

Also Friday, a thumbs up from the House of Representatives for the program used in the Aref and Hossain investigation.

The House has approved a bill that will make President Bush's warrantless wiretapping program legal.

The bill does set some conditions that have to be met for the eavesdropping of US citizens.

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