The deja vu was as transparent as a glass of water on Monday, Sept. 15, 2008 as the first day of voir dire began for the Holy Land Foundation retrial. The guards who stood at the entrance of each floor, the suited attorneys who filled the courtroom and the courageous defendants who crowded near their lawyers were all reminders of the trial (which ended in a mistrial) that began 14 months earlier.
U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis set the new – and probably final – date for the Holy Land Foundation retrial: Sept. 8, 2008. The case is being retried because it ended in a mistrial on Oct. 22, 2007 after the jury failed to return a single guilty verdict out of 197 counts.
Nearly four months after a mistrial was declared in the Holy Land Foundation case, U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis — the new judge presiding over the case — set the retrial date for Aug. 18, 2008.
That’s right. The government is retrying the case.
It was a windy, chilly and wet morning on Monday, October 22, 2007 as defendants, their families and supporters rushed to the brown-and-white marbled courthouse in downtown Dallas. Near the lobby elevators was a long line of supporters awaiting the verdict. By about 9:30 a.m., defendants and their relatives as well as at least 20 reporters entered the courtroom. Within minutes, the room was packed with anxious individuals who yearned two different fates for the defendants. In the café on the 6th floor, more than a dozen local and national supporters stuck together, praying for a positive outcome and checking the latest news about the verdict on their cell phones.
After 19 days of deliberation during a one-month span, jurors finally reached a verdict for the Holy Land Foundation trial by about 3 p.m. Thursday, October 18, 2007. Because U.S. District Judge A. Joe Fish is not in town, the verdict will be sealed until 10 a.m. Monday, said U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Stickney.