The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today unanimously reversed a trial court’s ruling dismissing a fraud case brought against the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). The result of the appellate court’s ruling is that CAIR National, operating out of the District of Columbia, must stand trial and allow a jury to hear all of the evidence of the massive fraud and attempted cover up carried out by CAIR and perpetrated against hundreds of CAIR fraud victims.
In January of last year, Judge Paul Friedman, the federal judge presiding over a five-year old lawsuit alleging that CAIR defrauded hundreds of Muslim and non-Muslim clients, issued a shocking ruling when he summarily dismissed the lawsuit, which was brought in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
The legal action started in Nov. 2008, when four clients of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) filed a federal civil complaint alleging criminal fraud and racketeering against CAIR, which along with claiming to be a “human rights group,” also works as a civil rights law firm. The lawsuit also named CAIR’s national leadership as individual defendants (a second suit making similar claims was added later).
The defendants were served with the complaint and summons to appear while attending the CAIR 14th Annual Dinner Sunday night in Arlington, Virginia. Congressman from CAIR Keith Ellison (D-Minn) was a guest speaker at this affair. The original lawsuits alleged that CAIR’s fraudulent conduct amounted to racketeering, a federal RICO crime. In that case, the court dismissed the RICO counts, concluding that CAIR’s conduct as alleged was fraudulent but not a technical violation of RICO. So the suits had to be refiled.
The two new federal civil complaints were filed in the federal district court for the District of Columbia on January 6, 2010, and served on January 13, 2010. Since both lawsuits arise out of the same facts, the court has consolidated the two cases.
While Judge Friedman agreed that Morris Days and CAIR’s Virginia chapter were liable for fraud, he concluded, after improperly weighing the evidence, that CAIR National in D.C., which was the named defendant in the lawsuit, was not responsible for Days’ fraudulent conduct. The appeals court, however, found that Judge Friedman was wrong on each and every fact raised by the plaintiffs, concluding, contrary to Judge Friedman, that each fact supports finding a direct relationship between CAIR National and Days.
The pending lawsuits allege that Morris Days, the “Resident Attorney” and “Manager for Civil Rights” at the now defunct CAIR-MD/VA chapter in Herndon, Virginia, was in fact not an attorney and that he failed to provide legal services for clients who came to CAIR for legal representation. As alleged, CAIR knew of this fraud and purposely conspired with Days to keep the CAIR clients from discovering that their legal matters were being mishandled or not handled at all. Furthermore, the complaints allege that according to CAIR internal documents, there were hundreds of victims of the CAIR fraud scheme.
According to court documents, CAIR knew or should have known that Days was not a lawyer when it hired him. But, like many criminal organizations, things got worse when CAIR officials were confronted with clear evidence of Days’ fraudulent conduct. Rather than come clean and attempt to rectify past wrongs, CAIR conspired with its Virginia Chapter to conceal and further the fraud.
To this end, CAIR officials purposely concealed the truth about Days from their clients, law enforcement, the D.C. and Virginia state bar associations, and the media. When CAIR did get irate calls from clients about Days’ failure to provide competent legal services, CAIR fraudulently deceived their clients about Days’ relationship to CAIR, suggesting he was never actually employed by CAIR, and even concealing the fact that CAIR had fired him once some of the victims began threatening to sue.
The complaint also alleges that in addition to covering up the Days fraud scheme, CAIR officials in D.C. forced angry clients who were demanding a return of their legal fees to sign a release that bought the client-victims’ silence, by prohibiting them from informing law enforcement or the media about the CAIR-Days fraud. According to the agreement, if the “settling” clients said anything to anyone about the fraud scheme, CAIR would be able to sue them for $25,000. Because of this “omerta” enforced by the terrorist-linked CAIR, hundreds of CAIR’s victims are still not aware that Days was not an attorney and that he never filed the legal actions on their behalf for which CAIR publicly claimed credit (Days has since died of a lung complication).
David Yerushalmi, who is also AFLC’s co-founder and senior counsel, remarked:
CAIR engaged in a massive criminal fraud in which literally hundreds of CAIR clients have been victimized. In his ruling, Judge Friedman inexplicably ignored material facts that establish CAIR National’s liability and then engaged in a transparently disingenuous ‘weighing’ of the factual evidence he did address, which is patently improper when evaluating cross-motions for summary judgment. We are thankful that the appeals court has rectified the trial court’s errors. Now, at long last, our clients will go before a jury and get their day in court.
Robert Muise, co-founder and senior counsel of AFLC, added:
This ruling is a significant victory. Not only does it reinstate our claims against CAIR, but it makes plain that we have an incredibly strong case to present to a jury. In short, CAIR has no way out. It is a fraudulent organization, and we will get a chance to prove that to a jury.
Along with the fraud suit, I would ask, “Why is this criminal enterprise allowed to appear on news programs as the ‘spokespeople for the Muslim community’?” CAIR was previously named as a Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas front group by the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office named the group an unindicted co-conspirator in the federal criminal trial involving the Holy Land Foundation, which showcased that the group was not only created by, but raised funds for, the terrorist group Hamas.
Cross-posted at LidBlog.