The Obama administration is trying to tack 20 years onto a Florida man's tax fraud sentence for the supposed crime of possessing books the government doesn't like. The Intercept reports:
Now, to demonstrate that Robertson’s tax charges merit a terrorism enhancement, the government has cited a number of books owned by Robertson that allegedly extol extremist beliefs. Robertson, who is recognized as an Islamic scholar, owned a library which included roughly 10,000 e-books, a small number of which are alleged by the government to have contained passages deemed controversial.
The government hasn’t provided any evidence to demonstrate that Robertson endorsed, let alone acted upon, any of the passages cited in these books, the defense counters. “There is nothing contained in the prosecution’s memorandum which connects Mr. Robertson to any actual conspiracy to commit terrorism,” Robertson’s attorney, Daniel Broderson, said. “He is an Islamic scholar who owned thousands of books, and they are trying to pull select passages from a handful of books he owned to try and make the case that he’s an extremist.”
Robertson, who says he's worked for the FBI and CIA as an asset in the past, alleges that the government is retaliating against him for "refusing to conduct an overseas operation requested by the CIA."
"The government is trying to use my case to establish a legal precedent, where even if a person is not charged with actual terrorism offenses they can still try them as a ‘terrorist’ using the sentencing adjustment,” Robertson told TheIntercept. “This is not just about prosecuting my case specifically, it’s about creating a precedent whereby the government can simply go through the books you own and use them to frighten people into believing that you’re a terrorist."
Unfortunately, it wouldn't be the first time. Read more about his case, and about the Muslim Exemption to the First Amendment.
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