U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Classified Information — Conspiracy
United States v. al Kassar, et al.
Judges Jacobs, Hall and Scheindlin
Background: Three defendants appealed their convictions for conspiring to kill U.S. officers, to acquire and export anti-aircraft missiles, and to provide material support to a known terrorist organization. The defendants argued that federal subject-matter jurisdiction was lacking, that their due process rights were violated, that exculpatory evidence was improperly excluded, and that the evidence of a conspiracy was legally insufficient.
Ruling: The Second Circuit affirmed the convictions. The court found that there was a sufficient nexus between the defendants’ actions and the United States as Congress intended to apply the criminal statute extraterritorially. Moreover, the court found that government agents did not manufacture jurisdiction as there was no evidence that government agents engaged in entrapment. The court found that the alleged exculpatory evidence was not related to the underlying conspiracy charges. Therefore, it was not in error for the court to exclude the classified information the defendants sought to present.
Roger Lee Stavis of Gallet Dreyer & Berkey LLP for the defendant-appellants; Brendan R. McGuire of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the appelleee