An attorney in New York has asked a judge to exclude Jewish jurors from the trial of his client, the New York Post reports.
“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,” said Frederick Cohn, whose client, Abdel Hameed Shehadeh, is accused of lying about trying to join jihadists in Pakistan.
“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.” Cohn, who is Jewish, added.
The subject of the controversial ban first arose at a recent court hearing.
“Your Honor . . . as you know, I’m not wild about having Jews on the jury in this case,” Cohn told Brooklyn federal Judge Eric Vitaliano in February.
Federal prosecutors William Sarratt and James Loonam reacted with alarm.
“I don’t think Judge [Robert] Levy will be ready to violate the Constitution and exclude people from the jury on the basis of their religious beliefs,” Sarratt told the judge.
Cohn said he recognizes that his request is controversial but that he doesn’t “know of a gentler way to deal with this, and sometimes you have to wield a meat ax.”
Magistrate Judge Levy will begin selecting the jury this week.