Lynne Stewart Fires Off a Parting Shot Before Going To Prison
Before surrendering to authorities on Wednesday afternoon to begin serving a measly 28 month sentence for providing material support to Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman (the mastermind of the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993), Maoist sympathizer, terrorist enabler and traitor Lynne Stewart took time out for an interview with Marxist Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now! network. It was a spectacle reminiscent of the way the state-controlled newspaper Pravda would conduct its fawning interviews of Josef Stalin during the days of the old Soviet-Union.
Stewart, you will recall, was the attorney for Rahman (the “Blind Sheikh”), and after his conviction for his role in the 1993 bombing was arrested herself for passing information from her imprisoned client to Rahman’s “Islamic Group,” a terror organization based in Egypt with connections to al-Qaeda. Stewart was disbarred and convicted, and although she faced a 30-year prison term, in a bizarre judicial twist was ultimately sentenced to only a fraction of that.
Although she vigorously fought her slap on the wrist sentence, claiming she was merely a “zealous advocate” for Rahman, a three-judge panel revoked Stewart’s bail and ordered her to begin serving the sentence immediately, ruling: “a genuinely held intent to represent a client ‘zealously’ is not necessarily inconsistent with criminal intent.”
Stewart remains defiant, and her interview with Goodman shows that she is just as dedicated to the cause of America’s enemies in 2009 as she was in 1993. When asked by Goodman for her reaction to the initial ruling, for example, Stewart tried to portray her treasonous act as a larger constitutional issue:
LYNNE STEWART: Well, in its sweeping and negative tone, I must say I was first a little bit shocked, because we had expected, or had hoped, at least, that some of these important constitutional issues would be decided, and then very disappointed, on my own behalf, certainly—personally, you can’t discount—but actually, for all of us, Amy, because these important constitutional issues—the right to speak to your lawyer privately without the government listening in, the right to be safe from having a search conducted of your lawyer’s office—all these things are now swept under the rug and available to the government.
Despite the fact that some of the information she passed on to Rahman’s minions may have actually tipped Osama Bin Laden off that our forces were closing in on him in Afghanistan, Stewart believes that her actions constituted no big deal and that her arrest was politically motivated!
LYNN STEWART: Interestingly enough, we found out later that the [Bill] Clinton administration, under Janet Reno, had the option to prosecute me, and they declined to do so, based on the notion that without lawyers like me or the late Bill Kunstler or many that I could name, the cause of justice is not well served. They need the gadflies… And it was only after 9/11, in April of 2002, that John Ashcroft came to New York, announced the indictment of me, my paralegal and the interpreter for the case, on grounds of materially aiding a terrorist organization. One of the footnotes to the case, of course, is that Ashcroft also appeared on nationwide television with Letterman that night ballyhooing the great work of Bush’s Justice Department in indicting and making the world safe from terrorism.
There it is, then. The predictable degeneration of the interview into a bashing of former President George Bush for being too overzealous in prosecuting terrorists and their sympathizers!
It’s evident from this interview that Stewart has no regrets, no remorse and no understanding of how damaging her actions have been to this country. In fact, when asked by Goodman if she would do anything differently, her answer vividly demonstrates that she is still a danger to the security of this country and was deserving of a much longer sentence.
AMY GOODMAN: Lynne, would you do anything differently today, or would you do anything differently back then, if you knew what you knew today?
LYNNE STEWART: I think I should have been a little more savvy that the government would come after me. But do anything differently? I don’t—I’d like to think I would not do anything differently, Amy. I made these decisions based on my understanding of what the client needed, what a lawyer was expected to do. They say that you can’t distinguish zeal from criminal intent sometimes. I had no criminal intent whatsoever. This was a considered decision based on the need of the client. And although some people have said press releases aren’t client needs, I think keeping a person alive when they are in prison, held under the conditions which we now know to be torture, totally incognito—not incognito, but totally held without any contact with the outside world except a phone call once a month to his family and to his lawyers, I think it was necessary. I would do it again. I might handle it a little differently, but I would do it again.