In another gruesome growing trend, Muslim sex trafficking gangs have come to America. We have seen these Muslim sex gangs in the UK. Photo gallery of the defendants here.
Dozens of Muslim defendants are on trial in Tennessee for running a prostitution ring, forcing girls as young as 12 years old to unimaginable horror. The judge has granted the defendants’ request to take breaks consistent with Muslim prayer times. Now, that's rich.
There has been at least one alleged incident of witness tampering in the case proceeding toward trial in Nashville. Three Twin Cities women — Hawo Osman Ahmed, Ifrah Abdi Yassin and Hamdi Ahmed Mohamud — were charged in June in a five-count indictment that includes charges of “conspiracy to retaliate against a witness, victim or informant.” The three women threatened a witness identified only by the initials “MA” and then attacked her in her apartment building elevator.
Sex trafficking trial unusual in scope As many as 23 will face jury simultaneouslyTennessean, February 28, 2012 (Hat tip David W)
Nearly two dozen defendants accused of participating in an interstate sex trafficking ring are scheduled to go before a federal jury next month in what is shaping up to be one of the biggest — and most unusual — trials in Middle Tennessee history.
In an era when limited resources and risk aversion have resulted in a dramatic rise in the number of cases that end in plea agreements rather than jury trials, not even one of the 30 defendants in the case has agreed to plead guilty, setting the stage for a massive trial in downtown Nashville that is raising a variety of issues both legal and logistical.
Twenty-nine people, mostly Somalis from the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, were charged in November 2010 with running a prostitution ring that sold Somali girls as young as 12 years of age in cities including Nashville. A 30th defendant was indicted in May 2011. In addition to sex trafficking and conspiracy, the defendants also are accused of alleged crimes such as credit card fraud and burglary.
Seven defendants — including two who have not yet been apprehended — have been severed from the trial scheduled to begin March 20 and will be tried later. Even so, longtime prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee said it is shaping up to be the largest number of defendants to go to trial at once in federal court in Nashville, if not U.S., history.
“I’ve been here in this office for 21 years now, and there’s never been that number of defendants go to trial simultaneously,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Van Vincent, the lead prosecutor on the case.
Why no plea deals?
“The Somalis have a cultural thing about testifying against each other,” said former U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee Ed Yarbrough, who agreed that the trial is on course to be the largest, in terms of the number of defendants, in Nashville history. “I think it’s cultural. That’s what I’ve been told.”
There has been at least one alleged incident of witness tampering in the case proceeding toward trial in Nashville. Three Twin Cities women — Hawo Osman Ahmed, Ifrah Abdi Yassin and Hamdi Ahmed Mohamud — were charged in June in a five-count indictment that includes charges of “conspiracy to retaliate against a witness, victim or informant.”
The three women threatened a witness identified only by the initials “MA” and then attacked her in her Minnesota apartment building elevator, according to the charges.
Cultural reasons aside, Franklin attorney John Cauley also noted that many of the defendants are facing a minimum 15-year prison sentence if convicted, which reduces the incentive to negotiate with prosecutors. Cauley represents Abdifitah Jama Adan in the case.
Finally, noting their defendants’ presumed innocence before trial, many of the defense attorneys said there may be a far simpler reason none of the defendants reached plea agreements: They didn’t do it.
“They maintain their innocence,” said Nashville lawyer Patrick Frogge, who represents Haji Osman Salad in the case. “I think a lot of the defendants are looking forward to their day in court.”
That day is going to come a lot faster for the defendants in this case than it has in other local federal prosecutions featuring multiple defendants and complex conspiracy. The lack of plea negotiations is contributing to the fast pace of the case. So has U.S. District Judge William J. Haynes Jr.’s steadfastness in rejecting any requests to continue the trial due to the difficulty of shuffling dozens of attorneys’ schedules. And at a recent hearing, all defendants in attendance said they would oppose any continuance.
“Several individuals are probably not guilty,” Gonzalez said. “If you’re sitting in jail on pretrial detention, you can’t go to trial fast enough. They want to go to trial.”
The trial, expected to last months, will require modifications of Haynes’ courtroom to ensure there is enough space for the defendants and attorneys. The judge also has granted the defendants’ request to take breaks consistent with Muslim prayer times.