June 7, 2007

"Discovery"

Long-time RJ reader Frank sent a link to a WSJ article (which should work for us non-subscribers for 7 days) about how lawsuits can rebound on plaintiffs. In this case the Islamic Society of Boston sued for libel against critics of a suspiciously sweet land deal with the Boston Redevelopment Agency...

...The Islamic Society nonetheless sued, claiming both libel and civil-rights violations. Motions to dismiss the case were denied, and the litigants began to compel third parties to turn over documents bearing on the case. In short order, one after another of the allegations made by the Islamic Society collapsed.

Their complaint asserted that the defendants had falsely stated that monies had been sent to the Islamic Society from "Saudi/Middle Eastern sources," and that such statements and others had devastated its fund-raising efforts. But documents obtained in discovery demonstrated without ambiguity that fund-raising was (as one representative of the Islamic Society had put it) "robust," with at least $7.2 million having been wired to the Islamic Society from Middle Eastern sources, mostly from Saudi Arabia.

The Islamic Society claimed it had been libeled by a variety of expressions of concern by the defendants that it, the Society, had provided support for extremist organizations. But bank records obtained by the defendants showed that the Islamic Society had served as funder both of the Holy Land Foundation, a Hamas-controlled organization that the U.S. Treasury Department had said "exists to raise money in the United States to promote terror," and of the Benevolence International Foundation, which was identified by the 9/11 Commission as an al Qaeda fund-raising arm.

The complaint maintained that any reference to recent connections between the Islamic Society and the now-imprisoned Abdurahman Alamoudi was false since it "had had no connection with him for years." But an Islamic Society check written in November 2000, two months after Alamoudi publicly proclaimed his support for Hamas and Hezbollah, was uncovered in discovery which directed money to pay for Alamoudi's travel expenses.

To top it all off, documents obtained from the Boston Redevelopment Authority itself revealed serious, almost incomprehensible, conflicts of interest in the real-estate deal. It turned out that the city agency employee in charge of negotiating the deal with the Islamic Society was at the same time a member of that group and secretly advising it about how to obtain the land at the cheapest possible price.

So the case was dropped....

Personally, I think it is absurd and suicidal weakness and decadence on our part that such obvious scumbags are not being interned in a comfy camp someplace where Caribbean breezes waft across the sparkling sands.

But isn't "discovery" cool? Charlene sometimes does the same stuff, on a smaller scale. Winkles out the connections and secrets of dubious plaintiffs using interrogatories and "requests for production of documents." Plus some cool Internet search tools.

Posted by John Weidner at June 7, 2007 6:49 AM
Weblog by John Weidner