A lawsuit brought by the Council on American-Islamic Relations against investigators who probed the group’s connection to radical jihad and its founding as a front group for the Muslim Brotherhood is coming into sharper focus after an order today by a federal judge.
D.C. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly denied a motion by CAIR for summary judgment in the case, which would resolve it based on its merits, without a full trial. She also ordered that the defendants’ motion for summary judgment be granted in part and denied in part.
CAIR filed suit in 2009 against former federal investigator Dave Gaubatz and his son, Chris Gaubatz, after the two carried out an undercover investigation of the Islamic group. The Washington, D.C., think tank Center for Security Policy and three of its employees were later added to the suit for their part in commissioning a documentary about CAIR, along with attorney David Yerusalmi and his non-profit group SANE, which campaigns against the advance of Islamic law, or Shariah.
Fight back against CAIR’s attack on First Amendment by making a contribution to WND’s “Legal Defense Fund.” Donations of $25 or more entitle you to free copy of “Muslim Mafia” – the book so devastating to CAIR the group is trying to ban it.
Evidence from the Gaubatzes’ investigation was published in the WND Books expose’ “Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America.” The book documents CAIR’s support of radical jihad, recounting its origin as a front group for the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, the worldwide movement that has stated its intent to transform the U.S. into a Saudi-style Islamic state.
CAIR alleges it suffered damage after the younger Gaubatz, posing as an intern, obtained access to some 12,000 pages of CAIR internal documents under false pretenses and made recordings of officials and employees without consent.
Significantly, today’s order underscored CAIR’s formation of two separate legal entities that it has used interchangeably, the CAIR Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and the CAIR Action Network, a lobbying organization.
Attorney Daniel Horowitz, who represents the Gaubatzes, told WND the judge “did some severe tree pruning,” removing from the case claims by CAIR Action Network, the name CAIR uses but in actuality is just a shell.
“She left in CAIR Foundation, which has existed for ages but was not really used,” he explained.
Horowitz said the existence of the two CAIR entities “raises lots of issues of ownership and control.”
“Tax returns were filed in generic names without clearly reflecting which entity was filing. Meetings were held without clarification,” he noted.
Horowitz said it would be hard for CAIR to show damages to a “paper/shelf corporation,” which is why CAIR Action Network was removed.
David Yerushalmi, a defendant in the case who is a noted anti-Shariah activist, has explained that CAIR dissolved into two separate organizations after it faced accusations following 9/11 that it was funded by oil sheiks and other foreign supporters of terrorism.
Meanwhile, CAIR’s national organization in the nation’s capital continued to promote its organization as if it were a single entity founded in 1994.
Yerushalmi said CAIR used a maze of shell-corporations and several real estate holding companies to purchase properties with money from oil-rich sources in the Arab Gulf states.
The IRS was unaware, he said, that CAIR was operating a fraudulent scheme in which it sheltered millions of dollars of illicit funding by moving money between the shell corporations while insisting there is only one organization.
Horowitz said that, meanwhile, the CAIR Foundation, the entity that remains in the lawsuit, apparently has suffered no damages, and “the court is asking them to state the harms once and for all.”
Two counts of breach of contract brought by both CAIR Action Network and CAIR Foundation against all eight defendants were ruled out.
Not decided were accusations of conversion, breach of fiduciary duty, trespass, unjust enrichment, fraud and trade secret misappropriation.
Issues of electronic privacy and stored communications largely survived, Horowitz said, likely because public policy protects those interests regardless of a lack of damages.
“The court seems most concerned with the bigger picture issues,” he said.
Peeling away the layers
Yerushalmi said that as a result of CAIR’s “dizzying array of cover-ups and fraudulent activities,” it “has no coherent basis for explaining the structure and nature of its operations, much less the status of Chris Gaubatz when he interned with the organization.”
He explained that CAIR has claimed all along that Chris Gaubatz interned with CAIR Action Network but he insisted that’s impossible, because CAIR Action Network “is a shell organization without any staff or operations.”
In the course of the litigation, CAIR, with the court poised to dismiss the lawsuit, changed its claim, contending that Chris Gaubatz actually interned with CAIR Foundation.
Yerushalmi made a comparison to the current IRS scandal.
“While the IRS has been busy harassing conservatives, pro-Israel Jewish organizations and Catholic charities, they have essentially turned a blind eye to CAIR, which has been running a money laundering scheme over several years by, among other things, siphoning money from abroad and hiding it within their various entities,” he said.
Yerushalmi said the discovery process and the forced production of documents brought about through the nearly five-year court battle “has peeled the layers of the onion off by uncovering CAIR’s dangerous agenda, which poses a real threat to our national security.”
He explained that in 2008, David Gaubatz trained his son, Chris Gaubatz, to work undercover as an intern with CAIR’s national office in Washington, D.C. Chris wore an audio-video recorder on his clothing to obtain recordings of the routine activities of a CAIR intern.
Shortly after “Muslim Mafia” was published, CAIR filed its lawsuit alleging violations of various federal wiretap and hacking statutes along with several common law torts, such as breach of fiduciary duty and trespass.
CAIR touts itself as a Muslim civil rights group, but federal prosecutors in 2007 named CAIR an unindicted co-conspirator in a plot to fund Hamas, and more than a dozen CAIR leaders have been charged or convicted of terrorism-related crimes.
FBI wiretap evidence from the Holy Land case showed CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad was at an October 1993 meeting of Hamas leaders and activists in Philadelphia. CAIR, according to the evidence, was born out of a need to give a “media twinkle” to the Muslim leaders’ agenda of supporting violent jihad abroad while slowly institutionalizing Islamic law in the U.S.
As WND reported in 2010, a federal judge later determined that the Justice Department provided “ample evidence” to designate CAIR as an unindicted terrorist co-conspirator, affirming the Muslim group has been involved in “a conspiracy to support Hamas.”
WND reported in March 2013 that the federal judge in the case, Kollar-Kotelly, rebuked CAIR and its in-house legal counsel for their “inability to efficiently manage their discovery in this matter and to comply with the court’s scheduling and procedures order.”
Horowitz said at the time that the judge’s rebuke supports the claim that the Muslim lobby group was abusing the court system in an attempt to silence opposition.
In the lawsuit, CAIR, does not defend itself against the claims of the book “Muslim Mafia,” and the FBI seized the CAIR material from the Washington law office of one of the Gaubtazes’ three high-profile lawyers. A previous filing in the case revealed a federal grand jury was investigating CAIR for possible violation of laws that ban financial dealings with terrorist groups or countries under U.S. sanctions.