The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit today confirmed the 2010 decision of Federal District Court Judge John Koeltl to change his 28-month jail sentence for radical attorney and human rights activist, Lynne Stewart, to ten years. The court’s June 28, 2012 decision was not unexpected.
Stewart was convicted at an outrageous 2005 New York frame-up trial on five counts of conspiracy to aid and abet and provide material support to terrorism. Her crime? Representing the “blind Sheik,” the Egyptian cleric, Omar Abdel Rachman, who has also been convicted on trumphed-up conspiracy charges, Stewart issued a press release from her client stating his views on how Egyptian Muslim oppositionists should react to the ongoing crimes and murders of Egypt’s then President Hosni Mubarak.
Stewart was convicted of violating a vaguely-worded court-ordered SAM (Special Administrative Measure) that barred her from revealing her client’s opinions. The penalty for such violations had traditionally been a mild slap on the wrist, perhaps a warning to not repeat the “violation” and to bar attorney-client visits for a few months. Stewart, barring an unlikely Supreme Court reversal, will now serve her ten-year sentence with perhaps a one-year or ten percent reduction for “good behavior.” She is presently incarcerated at FMC Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas.