tampabay.com

Snipes adds Al-Arian attorney

Linda Moreno has had success in high-profile cases.

By KEVIN GRAHAM, Times Staff Writer
Published December 5, 2007


TAMPA - Linda Moreno, the lawyer who represented Sami Al-Arian at his terrorism-related trial, has joined the defense team for actor Wesley Snipes.

She announced her involvement in federal court records Monday, the same day another Snipes' attorney cited more than 1.6-million pages of recently received documents in a request to delay his January tax evasion trial in Ocala.

Moreno declined Tuesday to discuss the case, deferring questions to Snipes' lead attorneys, who did not return a call for comment.

She has had success in a couple of high-profile cases.

At Al-Arian's 2005 trial, jurors acquitted him or deadlocked on all charges of conspiracy to support terrorism. He later pleaded guilty to helping associates of a terrorist group with nonviolent activities and received a 57-month sentence.

This year, Moreno took on another terrorism trial by representing Ghassan Elashi, former chairman of the board for Holy Land Foundation. In what was called the biggest terrorism-financing trial since the Sept. 11 attacks, prosecutors accused him of funneling $12-million to Palestinian groups in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that they said were fronts for the terrorist group Hamas.

A Dallas federal judge declared a mistrial in October after jurors failed to reach a verdict.

In seeking to delay Snipes' trial, defense attorney Robert E. Barnes said in his motion that defense attorneys recently received more than 1.6-million pages of records. One of the two co-defendants never received the documents, Barnes said.

Barnes said Snipes' former legal team, which Snipes fired, never gave the records to his new attorneys. In court papers he also said that federal prosecutors were uncooperative in reproducing the documents.

Snipes' trial is set to begin Jan. 7. His attorneys want it delayed until at least April 21.

The Blade and White Men Can't Jump star surrendered to federal authorities in December on charges that he defrauded the Internal Revenue Service of more than $11-million in taxes.

A federal judge has set a hearing in Ocala on Dec. 11 for lawyers on both sides to discuss any pending pretrial motions.

Kevin Graham can be reached at kgraham@sptimes.com or 813 226-3433.