Thursday, November 03, 2011


An amazing portion of a new 11th Circuit Federal Appeals Decision reveals Floridians participating in an Al Qaeda death oath ceremony, before conspiring to destroy the Miami FBI building and the Sears Tower in Chicago, this astonishes even your favorite Clearwater Defense Attorney. During the Federal Trial there was evidence that one Defendant in reciting the oath "actually changed the words such that he stated his allegiance to himself rather than to Al Qaeda..."

From the Appeals Opinion which affirmed the convictions:
On the basis of the oath ceremony, where the plot against the Miami FBI building was disclosed, and Augustine and Phanor’s later participation in recording images of the federal buildings, the jury was entitled to infer that Augustine and Phanor volunteered their service to Al Qaeda generally, and thereby conspired to provide material support under § 2339B.
Augustine and Phanor also point to evidence that they did not really take the oath. Augustine argues that the record indicates that in reciting the oath, he actually changed the words such that he stated his allegiance to himself, rather than to Al Qaeda. Similarly, Phanor argues that he initially refused to take the oath, and only did so after being assured by Batiste that it was “alright” for him to do so. However, we do not find the inadequacies or hesitations in the recitation of the oath to inoculate these defendants from the jury verdict. Instead, it is Augustin, Phanor, and Augustine’s participation in the ceremony itself, and their resulting awareness of the plot against the Miami FBI building—rather than the particular words uttered by any given defendant—that is sufficient evidence supplying knowledge and intent to their later participation.. (page 27 of the opinion, see below for link)

United States v. Burson Augustin, et al., No. 09–15985 

(Per Curiam: Affirmed Appellants were convicted of, inter alia, conspiracy to provide material support to a Foreign Terrorist Organization (Al Qaeda), conspiracy to maliciously damage and destroy by means of an explosive a building leased to an agency of the United States (the FBI) and a building used in interstate and foreign commerce (the Sears Tower), and conspiracy to levy war against the Government of the United States and to oppose by force the authority thereof in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2384. 
They appealed their convictions and the Eleventh Circuit affirmed. First, the Court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in granting in part the government’s motion to strike portions of the indictment as surplusage. The Court noted that although Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 7(d) provides only that a defendant may seek to strike surplusage from an indictment, the Eleventh Circuit and the Supreme Court have both recognized that the government may move to strike surplusage from an indictment. Second, the Court found that the evidence was sufficient to support their convictions. Third, the Court held that the government’s involvement in the criminal scheme was not outrageous and did not violate the defendants’ Due Process rights. Fourth, the Court upheld several of the district court’s evidentiary rulings relating to the admissibility of lay and expert testimony. And finally, the Court upheld the district court’s dismissal of a juror for refusing to follow the court’s instructions on the law. 
U.S. v. Augustin, The Full Opinion
Federal Crimes Trial Lawyer & Criminal Defense Attorney in Florida
FBI — Terrorism 2002/2005
FBI arrests 7 in alleged terror plot - US news - Security -

File:Jacques-Louis David, Le Serment des Horaces.jpg
Oath of the Horatii by Jacques-Louis David 1784. No, you can't have your swords back till you promise not to fight.