Defending Mohammad: Justice on Trial: A Defense Lawyer's Account of the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing Trial

Defending Mohammad: Justice on Trial: A Defense Lawyer's Account of the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing Trial

by Robert E. Precht




"The arrest of Mohammad Salameh, an illegal Palestinian immigrant, and three other Arab men in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing set off the first major ‘Muslim scare’ in New York City history. It was in this atmosphere that the four defendants were indicted and stood trial for the terrorist act. I was a public defender with New York’s Legal Aid Society at the time and by chance was assigned to represent the lead suspect, Salameh. The high-profile case snapped me out of my midcareer doldrums. Salameh was the ultimate underdog, and I was determined to ensure that he received a fair trial before an impartial jury. Unfortunately, the key court actors—judge, prosecutors, and defense lawyers—failed to meet this challenge.

Terrorism defendants are not predestined to receive unfair trials. If we are alert to the stress factors that can undermine impartiality, we can take measures to avoid transforming the potential for injustice into the actuality of an unfair proceeding."—from the Preface

This is the inside story of an epic courtroom showdown between terrorism and the American legal system. On a snowy day in February 1993, a massive car bomb nearly toppled the World Trade Center. Four Middle Eastern men were quickly arrested and charged with the crime. At the time, Robert E. Precht was a staff attorney for the Legal Aid Society Federal Defender Division in Manhattan, handling routine cases as a public defender. He was surprised to be appointed defense attorney to the chief suspect, Mohammad Salameh, and challenged as never before by the media circus that this major terrorism trial would prove to be. The events and personalities of the trial make for gripping reading, but equally compelling are Precht’s observations on the forces arrayed against fair trials for accused terrorists.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801441554
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 09/28/2003
Series: 7/22/2008
Pages: 183
Product dimensions: 6.32(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.87(d)

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