A Chicago medical van driver accused by the government of providing money to Hamas terrorists was sentenced Wednesday to 21 months in federal prison for lying under oath in a civil lawsuit.Someone needs to tell Judge St. Eve about President Bush's the post-Libby judicial system.
Muhammad Salah, 54, was also fined $25,000 by U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service.
"Telling the truth is the bedrock of our judicial system and a slap on the wrist will not provide a deterrent," St. Eve said, turning down emotional appeals from the defense for probation instead of a prison term. ***
[A] jury on Feb. 1 acquitted Salah and Ashqar of taking part in a racketeering conspiracy aimed at bankrolling the terrorist group Hamas.
The same jury, however, did convict Salah of a single count of obstruction of justice for lying under oath on a written questionnaire involving the shooting death in Israel of an American teenager, David Boim. The Boim family had sued Salah and a number of Islamic charities, claiming that they had funneled money to Hamas.
Among other things, Salah omitted mention of ties to Hamas.
As an experiment, let's apply some of the Libby arguments to the Salah case:
Libby supporters argued that the defendant should not be imprisoned because there was no underlying crime. In the case of Scooter Libby, no underlying crime was proven due to Libby's perjury and obstruction of justice. In the Salah case, there was no underlying crime because the oath was administered in a civil lawsuit.
Libby backers said that his perjury was merely his faulty memory regarding the facts behind the leak of the identity of a covert CIA agent to punish the White House's political enemies. Salah's perjury was an omission on a questionnaire.
If perjury is going to be a crime in the United States, perhaps it should be a crime for all Americans.