DOJ considering dropping charges against former pro-Israel lobbyists News
DOJ considering dropping charges against former pro-Israel lobbyists

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website; JURIST news archive] might drop charges [case materials] of disclosing national defense secrets against former pro-Israel lobbyists Steven Rosen [Washington Post profile] and Keith Weissman, a senior official said Tuesday. Government sources told the AP that there is still some support for going to trial [AP report] with the case, which has been delayed repeatedly since the former employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) [advocacy website] were indicted [JURIST report] under the 1917 Espionage Act [18 USC § 792 text] in August 2005. Rosen faces up to 20 years and Weissman up to 10, with the trial currently scheduled to begin in June. In a related story, Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) defended herself [press release] Tuesday against reports [NYT report] that wiretapped [JURIST news archive] conversations revealed her agreeing to seek leniency in the case in exchange for political favors.

In February, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] that the former lobbyists could use classified documents [JURIST report] in their defense. In November 2007, a federal judge ruled [JURIST report] that then-US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other senior administration officials must testify about whether they shared classified national defense information with lobbyists. In August 2006, Rosen and Weissman's constitutional challenge of the Espionage Act failed [JURIST report]. In January 2006, former Pentagon analyst Lawrence Franklin was sentenced [JURIST report] to 12 years, seven months in federal prison after pleading guilty to giving classified information to the lobbyists.