Federal judge rejects request to bar Jews from jury in terrorism trial

(JNS.org) A New York federal judge has rejected a request by a lawyer to exclude Jews from a jury in an upcoming terrorism trial.

The attorney for Abdel Hameed Shehadeh, Frederick Cohn—who is Jewish himself, according to the Jewish Press—told Judge Eric Vitaliano of the New York Federal District Court in Brooklyn that Jewish jurors would be bias against his client.

“Your Honor...as you know, I’m not wild about having Jews on the jury in this case,” Cohn told the judge in February, the Huffington Post reported.

“Given that there’s going to be inflammatory testimony about Jews and Zionism, I think it would be hard for Jews to cast aside any innate antipathy. The American Jewish community is heavily aligned with Israel and Zionism. Here is a guy who is a Muslim, who is opposed to those things,” Cohn said.

According to unsealed FBI documents, Shehadeh has been accused of lying to federal authorities on his goal to join the Taliban while attempting to enter Pakistan in 2008. Later, while trying to join the U.S. Army, Shehadeh failed to disclose his trip to Pakistan.

Jurors cannot be excluded based on race, gender or religion.

Posted on March 12, 2013 .