In the terrorism trial of Abdel Hameed Shehadeh, a suspected terrorist, his lawyer is attempting to ban any Jewish New Yorkers from serving on the jury. Shehadeh has been indicted for lying to federal investigators about his attempts to join the Taliban in Afghanistan and insurgent forces in Iraq, and maintaining websites dedicated to supporting al-Qaeda.
Attorney Frederick Cohn explained his reasoning for his request by saying, “Given that there’s going to be inflammatory testimony about Jews and Zionism, I think it would be hard for Jews to cast aside any innate antipathy. The American Jewish community is heavily aligned with Israel and Zionism. Here is a guy who is a Muslim, who is opposed to those things.”
However, the courts have consistently held that it is unconstitutional to exclude jurors solely on the basis of race or religion, so Shehadeh’s lawyer may not have the easiest time coming up with the jury he’d like.