Federal judge agreed to hear evidence that attorneys say proves Hayat's innocence.
DALLAS - June 15, 2017 - Judge Deborah Barnes of the Eastern District of California ordered an evidentiary hearing to review evidence that Hamid Hayat's attorneys claim will show that his client was not adequately represented and did not receive a fair trial (U.S. v. Hayat, et al. -- Case Number: 2:05-CR-00240-GEB).
Muslim Legal Fund of America began funding the expenses for this case in 2014 because representatives were deeply concerned over growing evidence that Hayat was convicted largely on the basis of his religious identity rather than any evidence of wrongdoing.
- During a press conference announcing Hayat's arrest, U.S. Attorney's Office told the press it had uncovered an Al Qaeda terror cell in Lodi, California - a claim the government later admitted to be false.
- Attorneys representing Hayat's habeas corpus petition said that the "government suppressed powerful evidence in its possession" that would have proved Hayat's innocence.
- A key piece of evidence presented by the prosecution was Hayat's possession of "a prayer written on paper that asked God for protection."
Dennis Riordan, Hayat's appeals attorney, told The Intercept:
"Finally, after 11 years, the bankruptcy of this conviction is going to be exposed at this hearing," said Dennis Riordan, Hayat's appeals lawyer. "It's going to be obvious that, not only should he have prevailed at trial, but that he's factually innocent."
Riordan also told MLFA:
"We believe that this is the most important legal case involving Muslim interests currently in courts of this country," said Riordan. "This motion to vacate Hayat's conviction is currently the best vehicle for exposing the harmful effects of anti-Muslim bias in American courtrooms."
The date for the hearing remains to be set. However, the judge ordered a status conference to be held on June 23, 2017, to "discuss logistics and timeline for the evidentiary hearing."
Muslim Legal Fund of America provided critical assistance to this case by supporting efforts to obtain the services of investigators and expert witnesses. Attorneys provided their legal services pro bono. MLFA is funding expenses the legal team accrue during the investigation of this case.
Muslim Legal Fund of America is a national nonprofit charity that funds projects to defend constitutional rights in America. Established in 2001, MLFA has defended freedom of speech, freedom of religion, right to a fair trial, due process of law and many other constitutional rights.
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