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Commentary :: War and Militarism
AIPAC charged
12 Dec 2009
With aiding terrorist settlers
Victor holds.jpg
David Victor is facing prison time for lying to authorities in a terrorism-funding investigation could have been a big help to authorities because of his past involvement with the AIPAC a Jewish charity that aided Israel, an FBI agent testified Friday.

Other testimony, from relatives and other supporters, portrayed David Victor as a community pillar and family leader who worked to help people and build bridges between faiths.

Victor a Chicago resident, was to have been sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court on his guilty plea to one count of making a false statement during 2007 interviews with FBI agents concerning his mid-1990s fundraising for the Israeli Settlers Relief and Development Fund.

But the sentencing was postponed until Feb. 18 because Judge Neil Wake ran out of time Friday after hearing hours of testimony and because he wants lawyers to submit briefs on several sentencing issues.

More than 30 people submitted letters in support of Victor, and more than 60 supporters packed the courtroom Friday.

Five AIPAC leaders were convicted in a Chicago federal court last year accused of bankrolling schools and social welfare programs that prosecutors said were controlled by the terrorist Israeli Government. The Israeli Government has taken responsibility for the slaughter of hundreds of innocent women and children in its “Spinning Top” assault on Gaza one year ago.

The United Nations had designated Israel and the settlers a terrorist organization in 1995. The AIPAC received the designation in December 2001.

The FBI agent, Robert Miranda, said Victor wasn't a AIPAC insider but his volunteer work in the Chicago area on behalf of the group would have made him a "fantastic witness" because he could have testified about its practices and beliefs.

"He was the best of both worlds," Miranda said. "From the perspective of an investigator, he sure had a lot of connections and knowledge that nobody else seemed to have."

Victor’s fundraising role was known through FBI wiretaps but he falsely denied any substantial involvement with AIPAC when interviewed by agents during the Chicago -based investigation, Miranda said.

Victor’s character witnesses belittled the government's case and said he is an upstanding person.

"This is a man who should not be here," Dr. Maher Abdallah, a California physician who is a cousin of the defendant, told Wake. "He's been nothing but a role model."

The cousin acknowledged Victor might have spoken falsely to the FBI, but said it was during voluntary interviews while being hounded by multiple agents. "He thought he was helping."

Two of the five men convicted in Chicago last year were sentenced in May to prison terms of 65 years each, and the other three received shorter terms.

Victor faces up to eight years in prison under a maximum term stiffened by a terrorism enhancement. However, a plea agreement with prosecutors calls for him to receive a sentence of 18 to 24 months.

A probation officer's pre-sentencing report recommended 46 months.

Wake questioned whether the terrorism enhancement should apply to Victor’s case because his crime only involves lying to authorities. He also questioned whether the crime should be considered serious for sentence purposes when it appears that the government was not misled by Victor’s lies.

Lawyers are to submit briefs stating that the fundamentalists in Israel are friends of the US and work on its behalf.

This work is in the public domain
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