On the heels of a major setback in federal court, the Council on American-Islamic Relations is “throwing a Hail Mary pass” to keep its “Muslim Mafia” lawsuit alive by issuing subpoenas to a prominent counter-terror expert, says a lawyer for the two men who probed the Muslim group’s terror ties in a sting operation.
“The timing of their request is a sign of desperation,” said Daniel Horowitz, representing former Air Force Special Agent P. David Gaubatz and his son Chris, who recovered thousands of pages of incriminating CAIR documents meant for a shredder while posing as a Muslim intern.
The subpoenas demand the testimony of Frank Gaffney, founder and president of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Security Policy, and his submission of any relevant documents and communications he may have had with the Gaubatzes, WorldNetDaily, WND Books and WND CEO Joseph Farah.
The 12,000 pages of documents obtained in the daring six-month undercover operation – which proved to be of interest to counter-terror experts and a federal grand jury – provided key evidence for the book “Muslim Mafia,” published last fall by WND Books. The expose asserts CAIR is a front in a conspiracy by the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood to advance Saudi-style Islamic law in the U.S.
“CAIR is lashing out wildly at anybody associated with this book,” Horowitz told WND. “It’s like a drowning person flailing water; they grab on to anybody they can and drown them so that they live.”
Horowitz said CAIR’s latest move shows it’s “fishing for something,” because a federal judge’s decision last week to reject a re-filing of the lawsuit implies the group suffered no damages and, therefore, has no case.
CAIR claims Chris Gaubatz obtained access to its property under false pretenses and removed the internal documents and made recordings of officials and employees “without any consent or authorization and in violation of his contractual, fiduciary and other legal obligations to CAIR.”
Gaubatz argue CAIR officials asked him to shred documents he believed might be criminal evidence in matters of national security. Horowitz also contends that even if the case had any viability, it is moot because CAIR now has its documents back. CAIR’s attorney, Dan Marino, also retracted his initial objections to a subpoena, served by the FBI, to turn over copies of the documents to the federal grand jury.
Horowitz contends CAIR’s plan is to “chill” free speech critical of the Muslim organization through an avalanche of court cases and legal costs.
Last week, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia “denied as moot” CAIR’s request to re-file the case. CAIR now has until March 1 to submit an amended complaint.
But Horowitz also has argued CAIR has no claim because it does not legally exist. Horowitz explained that CAIR changed its name to the Council on American-Islamic Relations Action Network just two weeks after it was named by the Justice Department in 2007 as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terror-finance case in U.S. history
Horowitz asserts CAIR filed the new lawsuit essentially to avoid explaining why its initial suit was filed under a different name.
“Now CAIR will have to either try to explain to the court why it used a fake name to start the case, and show it was honest mistake,” Horowitz said, “or they will have to try to argue that the new lawsuit is somehow different from the old lawsuit, which I don’t think it is.”
The subpoena calls for Gaffney to be deposed April 2, one month after the deadline for CAIR to amend its re-filing of the lawsuit.
“I think they figure that by the time everything is briefed, they can then say to the court, ‘Before you rule against us, let us complete these depositions and then see if we have any new information,’” Horowitz explained.
He believes CAIR understands its position “is rather untenable right now” as it prepares its new brief.
It’s “highly questionable,” he said, whether CAIR can demonstrate to the court it has a reasonable expectation to get information from Gaffney that is relevant to the case as it now stands.
“You can’t depose somebody because you’re mad at them or because you’re offended they may have helped somebody express their First Amendment rights,” he said.
Horowitz further argues that since CAIR lawyer Marino agreed the FBI could have all the CAIR documents, the group voluntarily surrendered any rights to privacy or privilege.
“So really, what does it matter who’s gotten them or who’s seen them?” he asked.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The CAIR legal attack on WND’s author is far from over. WND needs your help in supporting the defense of “Muslim Mafia” co-author P. David Gaubatz, as well as his investigator son Chris, against CAIR’s lawsuit. Already, the book’s revelations have led to formal congressional demands for three different federal investigations of CAIR. In the meantime, however, someone has to defend these two courageous investigators who have, at great personal risk, revealed so much about this dangerous group. Although WND has procured the best First Amendment attorneys in the country for their defense, we can’t do it without your help. Please donate to WND’s Legal Defense Fund now.