A former college professor was found not guilty Tuesday of key charges linking him to a Palestinian terrorist group that allegedly operated an underground cell in Florida, ending a lengthy trial that balanced allegations of terrorist-related acts against assertions of abused constitutional rights.
After 13 days of deliberation, a federal jury acquitted Sami Al-Arian, once a computer sciences professor at the University of South Florida, of eight of the 17 charges against him, including a charge that he conspired with other leaders of Palestinian Islamic Jihad to murder people in Israel.
The 12-member jury deadlocked on the nine other counts against him, including charges that he aided terrorists.
Al-Arian wept in relief as the verdicts were read. One of his attorneys, Linda Moreno, hugged him. Supporters outside the courthouse cheered when families of the defendants emerged.