Sep 1, 2011 5:55 AM by Lauren Wilson & AP
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Five members of what was once the nation's largest Muslim charity are asking a federal appeals court to overturn their convictions and prison sentences for funneling millions of dollars to the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans is scheduled to hear arguments Thursday by federal prosecutors and attorneys for leaders of the Richardson, Texas-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development.
The group's members claim the judge who presided over their 2008 retrial erred in allowing testimony about Hamas' terrorist activities, protecting the identities of two Israeli witnesses and denying them access to many of their own secretly recorded statements.
Federal prosecutors argue U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis in Dallas didn't abuse his discretion in deciding what evidence jurors could hear.