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Judge drops lawyer's terror charges

July 23, 2003 at 8:08 AM

NEW YORK, July 23 (UPI) -- A federal judge has dismissed charges that a lawyer supported terrorism by helping an imprisoned sheik.

Lynne Stewart was accused of helping Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, who was convicted of plotting to blow up New York landmarks, by helping him to pass messages to the Islamic Group in Egypt, a terrorist group he once led.

The charges were announced in April 2002 by Attorney General John Ashcroft, who called the case the first use of a new rule that allows the Bureau of Prisons to monitor conversations between lawyers and inmates who are threats to commit "future acts of violence or terrorism."

The judge let stand lesser charges that she lied to and defrauded the federal government, the New York Times reported.

Those charges accuse her of making false statements and conspiring to defraud the government through what prosecutors say was her broken promise not to be a conduit for Abdel Rahman.

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