Iraqi convicted of trying to sell names of US operative to Iraq blamed it on nonexistent 'dead twin brother'
Shows tape of self on fourth of July posing with flag - accuses judge of prejudice
Accused Iraqi convicted on six of seven counts
Rick Callahan AP
INDIANAPOLIS — A man accused of trying to sell the names of U.S. operatives and agents to Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime for $3 million was convicted Wednesday of six of the seven charges against him.
Shaaban Hafiz Ahmad Ali Shaaban, who blamed his troubles on a twin who a brother testified does not exist, was convicted of charges including acting as an unregistered foreign agent, violating sanctions against Iraq, conspiracy and witness tampering.
Jurors deadlocked over whether he offered to sell U.S. secrets to Saddam Hussein's government.
Prosecutors said Shaaban, who is Palestinian, agreed in late 2002 to sell U.S. intelligence secrets to Iraq for $3 million. No evidence was presented during his trial, however, that he had access to that classified information.
U.S. District Judge John Tinder set sentencing for April 13 on the six convictions, and said he would seek a hearing sometime next week to discuss a retrial on the remaining count.
Shaaban could have faced up to 65 years in prison if convicted of all seven counts.
Shaaban was working as a truck driver and living near Indianapolis when he was arrested in March.
Shaaban, who represented himself during his trial with the help of two standby public defenders, repeated during his closing arguments his contention that the government has mistaken him for a now-dead identical twin, although witnesses including an older brother disputed that.
In his closing arguments, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Morrison reminded jurors that Shaaban's brother and other witnesses had testified that no such twin ever existed.
"What we have here are two people who've been seen together less than Clark Kent and Superman," he told the jury. "And I'd remind you that was fiction, too."
An Indiana truck driver fought with federal prosecutors today to play at his trial a videotape of a neighborhood Fourth of July celebration in Greenfield.
Shaaban Hafiz Ahmad Ali Shaaban wanted to show jurors he's an average joe and not the Joe Brown prosecutors say met with former high-ranking officials of Iraq's now-disbanded intelligence service, the Mukhabarat. The 53-year-old Palestinian has been on trial since Jan. 9 on charges of traveling to Iraq in late 2002 and offering to sell names of U.S. operatives infiltrating the country before the military invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein's government.
U.S. District Judge John D. Tinder allowed the airing of the tape over prosecution objections. The video depicts a neighborhood celebration in 2004 during which Shaaban comes out of his home onto the front lawn while an American flag near the front door of the rental home flaps in the wind.
"Is that you in the photograph?" one of Shaaban's stand-by attorneys, Michael J. Donahoe, asked as the video frame was frozen for jurors. "And that's your home that the flag is in front of?"
"This is our flag," Shaaban replied before jurors broke for lunch.
Defendant In Iraq Case Blasts Judge
Man Says He Is Prejudice Victim
POSTED: 9:28 pm EST January 24, 2006INDIANAPOLIS -- As a jury Tuesday deliberated charges that a Greenfield truck driver conspired to sell U.S. secrets to Saddam Hussein's Iraqi government, the defendant told RTV6 he was innocent and that his trial judge was prejudiced against him. Closing arguments in the case against Shaaban Hafiz Ahmad Ali Shaaban were given Tuesday, concluding a two-week trial in federal court. Shaaban, while delivering part of his own closing argument, denied plotting to sell the names of U.S. covert operatives in Iraq, and he elaborated afterward during an interview with RTV6's Derrik Thomas. "How can I go to Iraq to sell something I don't have?" asked Shaaban, who has maintained he had no access to the operatives' information. Shaaban, 53, is accused of going to Iraq in late 2002 and offering to sell the operatives' names to Saddam's government. Prosecutors presented no evidence that Shaaban ever had access to any U.S. secrets. During the post-trial interview with Thomas, Shaaban said the judge treated him unfairly. "He is a racist. He is prejudiced," said Shaaban, who was born in the Middle East. "He doesn't like me, and he judged me before the trial." Shaaban was indicted in March on several counts, including conspiracy, acting as a foreign agent and violating sanctions against Iraq. A later charge of witness tampering was added after prosecutors said he threatened a brother who lives in California who testified against him. If convicted, he faces up to 65 years in prison and more than $1.5 million in fines. A jury began deliberating after closing arguments Tuesday. Shaaban, who represented himself during his trial with the help of two standby public defenders, repeated during his closing arguments his contention that the government has mistaken him for a now-dead identical twin. He told jurors that some of the passports and identification cards the government entered as evidence against him actually belonged to his twin. In his closing arguments, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Morrison reminded jurors that Shaaban's brother and other witnesses had testified that no such twin ever existed. "What we have here are two people who've been seen together less than Clark Kent and Superman," he told the jury. "And I'd remind you that was fiction, too." Shaaban had testified that he and his twin brother worked for the CIA, and that in October 2002, he traveled to Syria to join his twin on a secret CIA mission to obtain information on Baghdad's defenses. Shaaban testified that he never entered Iraq because Syrian officials confiscated his passport. During closing arguments Tuesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sharon Jackson asked why Shaaban didn't call anyone from the CIA to testify. "It is a completely fabricated defense," Jackson said. During his closing arguments, Shaaban complained that the witnesses he wanted to call weren't available. "I am a man of little resources. I can't produce a lot of documentation because I'm incarcerated," Shaaban said in court. U.S. District Judge John Tinder repeatedly admonished Shaaban during the closing argument, saying he was violating court rules by making references to things that hadn't been introduced as evidence. Eventually, Tinder stopped Shaaban from continuing, and standby attorney William Dazey completed the argument. Previous Stories:
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