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Dr. Al-Arian mourns his friend and former attorney William B. Moffitt

Northern Virginia- samibill.jpgApril 24, 2009

For over three years during my difficult ordeal with the US government between 2003 and 2006, I was placed in solitary confinement, having no contact visits with anyone except my attorneys, Bill Moffitt and Linda Moreno.

At the end of my first meeting with Bill in the spring of 2003, after my arrest, he hugged me and said: “this is how we greet each other, brother.” He was indeed not only my attorney, but also my trusted friend and brother.

Bill Moffitt passed away this afternoon after suffering a massive stroke. He was indeed one of the best legal minds and defense attorneys this country had ever produced. His sharp intellect and passion for justice were unmatched.

I first met Bill when the National Coalition to Protect Political Freedom (NCPPF) organized a major event at the US Capitol in February 2000. The event was convened to draw attention to the use of secret evidence by the Department of Justice in immigration courts. As president of the NCPPF, I invited and introduced Bill to address the assembly in his capacity as the president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He was articulate, fierce, and passionate in his defense of the constitutional right of due process in front of an audience of over 700, including many members of Congress.

Little did I know then that in three years Bill would become my voice to the world, and along with Linda, would do everything humanly possible to defend me, not only against the bloated indictment and vicious prosecution, but also against a prejudicial and biased media. From the moment we went about facing these seemingly insurmountable tasks, Bill and Linda became family to my wife, children and me.

Bill often referred to our case as the civil rights case of the 21st century. In his opening statement to the jury, he blew up two pictures the FBI took during their searches of my house. One was a picture of my library with thousands of books on shelves. The other was a picture of a gun I owned at the time. He then told the jurors: “this is what this case is about. When the government raided Dr. Al-Arian’s house, this is what they took (books), and that’s what they’d left (the gun). This case is not about violence bbillandlinda.jpgut about freedom of speech.”

In his closing argument, Bill Moffitt summed up the case to the jury by saying: “ I suggest to you that somewhere very close, the people who wrote those words, ‘we the people,’ are listening and observing these proceedings and wondering whether we have the courage to maintain what they set out for us; whether we will remain the beacon in the world to someone like Sami Al-Arian to come here and to speak his piece.” He then added: “So, I hope as we are looked down by those people who created this great country, that in my attempt to defend Sami Al-Arian and to defend those principles, along with Miss Moreno, that they thought we gave it a good run.”

He concluded: “I have a daughter. I hope that she will live in a country where she can speak her mind and believe what she wants without fear. That’s what this case is about.” The jury surely believed strongly in Bill Moffitt's passionate defense of the right to speak freely, as they did not return a single guilty verdict despite a six-month onslaught by the government.

After Bill and Linda negotiated a plea agreement with the government in 2006 with the expectation of my imminent release, we made a pact to celebrate along the Mediterranean Sea. However, more than two years later, he visited me in my daughter’s apartment in a Washington suburb, where I'm currently under house arrest. We hugged and talked, reflected on the trial and laughed. He was still his old self, a maverick, who deeply cared about justice and civil rights, the constitution and empowering the voiceless.

I spoke with Linda today. With teary eyes and a choking voice, she said, “It was my privilege to work with Bill. He was the very best of us in the defense bar. He will be greatly missed by anyone who cares about justice. His legacy will surely endure.”

My family and I offer our deepest condolences and prayers to Bill's wife and daughter. They are surely proud of his rich life and many accomplishments. He has left his mark, and the legal community has lost a great champion of civil and constitutional rights. The country and the world are definitely a better place today because of Bill Moffitt. He will be missed dearly. May God rest his soul.

Related Blog >> Prof. Jonathan Turley bids farewell to Bill Moffitt

Documents & Releases

Statement of Chairs of American Muslim Task-Force on Civil Rights and Elections  (AMT) and  Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

Howard Zinn Statement on Professor Al-Arian

SITE SEARCH

SPOTLIGHT

March 2000

December 2005alarian.jpg

January 2009

To be patriotic is to be able to question government policy in times of crisis.
To be patriotic is to stand up for the Bill of Rights and the Constitution in times of uncertainty and insecurity.
To be patriotic is to  speak up against the powerful in defense of the weak and the voiceless.
To be patriotic is to be willing to pay the price to preserve our freedoms, dignity, and rights.
To be patriotic is to
challenge the abuses of the PATRIOT Act.
From a speech by Dr. Al-Arian
9/1/2002

Biography---

UFF Summary: Al-Arian and USF

Poetry

Announcement of Book: The Al-Arian Reader

A new compilation of all relevant articles to be released soon by the National Liberty Fund

Selected Poems
by Sami Al-Arian

We Shall Rise

To Maya Angelou
Like the dream of the slave
You rise
And with the scream of the brave
I shall rise
In honoring the memory of your ancestors
You rise
With my stateless brothers and sisters
I shall rise
Like dust in the sunlight
You rise
And as ashes in a fiery night
I shall rise
You offend
Because of your existence
And I
For my resistance
You upset them
Recalling their past
And I
By holding steadfast
They may trod you in dirt
May cause me all the hurt
Inflict upon you excruciating pain
While they shut me up and detain
By they won't see you broken
Neither would my faith be forsaken
As you've never bowed your head
And never lowered your eyes
I'll continue to raise my fist
And hide my mother's cries
They may shoot you with their words
Cut me up with their swords
They may insult you with their eyes
Denigrate me with their lies
Trying to kill you with their hate
Bury me alive to seal my fate
But they'd certainly
Be shamed and fail
As the free chant and sing
On their march to prevail
So keep your head held high
As I follow you and try
And keep your beautiful smile
As I walk my first mile
They'll pressure and blame
Throw us in prison to control and tame
They'll exile and defame
Lynch us all or shoot and maim
Burn crosses with no shame
Target our children in a dirty game
By why is that a surprise?
Despite their evil and terror
Their falsehood and lies
You shall rise
And I shall rise
You're the black ocean
Leaping and wide
I'm the Mediterranean
With a stormy tide
Staying together
Side by side
It's no surprise
We shall rise
Surely shall rise
We together shall rise
No Longer Afraid
For us to feel "secure"
What price is being paid?
If living in freedom
Why are we afraid?
Fear is everywhere
All around
Perhaps irrational
But without any bound
You can see it on our faces
Sense it in our eyes
You can hear it in our whispers
Feel it in our cries
More>>No Longer Afraid
The Bird and The Vulture
The bird was chirping
In a house on a tree
But the vulture was angry
Because it was free
When the bird is singing
The vulture ain't safe
More>>The Bird and The Vulture
The Smile of Freedom
He looked like
A body-builder
Tall, tough, and full
All muscles and no fat
His mind was simple
Suited to follow orders
No questions asked
Acting mean and mechanical
Like any bureaucrat
More>>The Smile ...
In the Name of Freedom
In the name of freedom
We shall rule the world
To spread democracy
And set you free
In the name of freedom
We’ll descend on you
To make you civilized
Modern and orderly
More>>In the Name ...
The Accused: Franz Kafka Meets George Orwell in 21st Century America
Act I: The Mother of all Evidence
Act II- Weapons of Mass Deception
Act III: Silencing of the Lambs
Act IV: Attacks of the Wolves
Act V: Occupied Territory
Act VI: Police State
Act VII: Official Obituary
Act VIII: A Close Encounter of the Scariest Kind
Act IX: The Inquisition
Act X- Conspiracy Theory
Act XI- Secret Trials
Act XII- Silent Pain and Teary Eyes
Act XIII- True Patriot Acts
Do Not Sign
Rights are not for sale
History is not kind
On those who sell their people out,
Betray their cause,
Surrender their land
To tow the line
Do not sign
More>>Do Not Sign
Rachel Corrie: Daughter of Palestine
The most gentle
Amongst all honorable
Women
Had a spirit
As dazzling as
The garden of
Eden
More>>Daughter of Palestine
Ole Jerusalem
O Ole Jerusalem
I feel your pain
I hear your cries
The light thunder
In the darkness
And the heavy rain
I see the steady bleeding
Of your wound
With its mark and stain
More>>Ole Jerusalem
Patrick Henry
A revolutionary
At heart
A patriot
From the start
Loved by his country
To the core
Defended freedom
Even more
Hated arrogance
In shape and tone
Fought tyranny
With every bone
He was the conscience
Of his people
Striking fear in the enemy
And made it feeble
More>> Patrick Henry
Injustice
An overwhelming feeling
Of bitterness
Emptiness
Hopelessness
Helplessness
Sadness
Madness
Of hatred and rage
Trapped in a cage
Disappointment and anger
Continuing to linger
Wounding of dignity
Violating your virginity
More>> Injustice
Political Riddles
He sees the world as black and white
His solution to every quandary is fight with might
The economy will not stimulate
Because he can’t articulate
While jobs are gone
He says, “bring ‘em on.”
Who is he?
He likes to be called the General
The head of an agency that’s federal
If you spit on the sidewalk
He’ll send the Incredible Hulk
He hates to cite truth or fact
Because he’s busy promoting his unpatriotic act
He frequents TV cameras with a smash
The first part of his last name sounds like trash
Who is he?
He is the ideal dutiful poodle they say
From an empire where the sun did not set one day
He adores his cowboy friend and considers him a fan
And insists: I’m nobody’s yes-man
When the cowboy says no, I say no
Who is he?
More>>Political Riddles