Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly
The battle over one of the most controversial books of 2009 continues in the courtroom.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations – newly confirmed by the Justice Department as a terrorist co-conspirator – is trying to keep its lawsuit alive against two investigators behind the expose “Muslim Mafia”, which documents the D.C.-based group’s founding and current activity as a front group for the Muslim Brotherhood and spinoff Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist organization.
Lawyers for “Muslim Mafia” co-author P. David Gaubatz and his son, Chris, have filed a motion to dismiss the case, arguing CAIR filed suit under a false name, does not specify any damages and alleges violations that are protected under the First Amendment.
Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia now is considering a motion by CAIR to amend its original complaint. But a lawyer for the Gaubatzes, Daniel Horowitz, said he hopes the judge will dismiss the first complaint and then determine whether the second is any different.
If there is no difference, Horowitz explained to WND, she can reject CAIR’s request to amend the complaint and then throw out the case.
“If everything in their complaint is true, I don’t believe they have stated a single item of recoverable damage,” Horowitz contended. “There is no discovery to be done. Theoretically, if you’ve been hurt, you know why you’ve been hurt, and you know how you’ve been hurt.”
Horowitz said the judge could render a decision within weeks, but it also could take months. He noted, however, that she has moved quickly on most matters in the case.
Last month, CAIR attempted to file the amended complaint without court approval. Kollar-Kotelly reversed the filing and ordered CAIR to file a motion to explain why it should be allowed to amend.
CAIR’s original lawsuit alleges Chris Gaubatz obtained access to CAIR property under false pretenses and removed 12,000 pages of 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.”
The younger Gaubatz gathered the documents, which were meant to be shredded, while serving as an intern at CAIR’s national office in Washington, just three blocks from the U.S. Capitol building.
As WND reported Tuesday, the Department of Justice has presented evidence to four inquiring Congress members to support the agency’s belief that CAIR was founded as a front group in the U.S. for Hamas.
A previous filing in the “Muslim Mafia” case revealed a federal grand jury is investigating CAIR for possible violation of laws that ban financial dealings with terrorist groups or countries under U.S. sanctions.
In its latest brief – a reply to the Gaubatzes’ opposition to CAIR’s motion to amend – CAIR lawyer Daniel Marino contends the gathering and publication of CAIR’s documents is not protected under the First Amendment.
Marino argues the First Amendment “does not privilege someone to steal valuable nonpublic information such as trade secrets, proprietary data, or privileged materials and, having so stolen it, to disclose it and thereby impair the value it had by virtue of its confidentiality.”
Horowitz conceded CAIR might have a valid lawsuit if, for example, the items taken were a pirate treasure map, “and I took the treasure map and published it and somebody else got the gold first.”
“But if they’re Hamas, and we find documents that they support terrorism and fund cop-killers with civil-rights money, then the harm that’s caused them is damage to their reputation,” he said.
CAIR can’t sue anyone who claims it supports terrorism unless the claim is not true, Horowitz explained.
Horowitz has noted that normally, if a party believes a book is deliberately false, it will sue for defamation.
“Truth is a defense,” he said in a previous interview, “and we have always been willing to debate CAIR in a public forum or in the courts on these issues.”
In its motion to amend, CAIR replies to Horowitz’s claim that the Muslim group filed under a corporate entity that does not legally exist. Horowitz, contending CAIR has used a “shell game” to shield itself, explained that CAIR changed its name to the Council on American-Islamic Relations Action Network just two weeks after it was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terror-finance case in U.S. history.
In subsequent briefs, CAIR has dismissed the name issue as a “misnomer” that can easily be rectified because the identity of the plaintiff was understood by both parties.
But Horowitz argues CAIR has spun off many different corporations, including the now-defunct CAIR Virginia/Maryland, where some of the activities named in the case took place.
“If they are claiming they are putting the real name that we all know on the lawsuit, I don’t see Hamas there,” Horowitz said. “So, no, we don’t know who CAIR is. We don’t understand who they are talking about, because I understand they are talking about people who fund and support suicide bombers, and I don’t see that in their complaint.”
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.