Tampa, Florida - A former Florida professor was acquitted on a key charge today that he helped lead a Palestinian terrorist group that has carried out suicide bombings against Israel.
In one of the biggest courtroom tests yet of the Patriot Act's expanded search and surveillance powers, the jury acquitted Sami Al-Arian on eight of the 17 counts against him.
The jury deadlocked on the others.
Two of the three co-defendants in the terrorism conspiracy case were acquitted of all charges against them.
The two co-defendants acquitted are Sameeh Hammoudeh and Ghassan Zayed Ballut. [Full Story]
The third, Hatem Naji Fariz, was found innocent of 24 counts and jurors deadlocked on the remaining eight.
The jury deadlocked on the others including charges he aided terrorists.
Al-Arian will go back to jail until prosecutors decide whether to retry him on the deadlocked counts.
Here are the charges:
Not GuiltyConspiracy to commit racketeeringConspiracy to murder and maim people abroad2 counts of conspiracy to support a foreign terrorist organization2 counts of mail fraud2 counts of obstruction of justice
All other counts - no decision
USF issues brief statement on Al-Arian trial
Al-Arian's former employer, the University of South Florida, released only a brief statement regarding the verdict. USF says President Judy Genshaft is out of the country and is not available for comment.
"The University of South Florida is watching the recent legal developments. USF ended Sami Al-Arian's employment nearly three years ago, and we do not expect anything to change that."
Tampa Bay's 10 News. The Associated Press contributed to this report.