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Lawyer for Cleric Says She Followed Ethical Standards

Thursday, November 11, 2004; Page A09

NEW YORK, Nov. 10 -- A U.S. lawyer accused of helping a radical Muslim cleric smuggle terrorist messages out of prison insisted Wednesday that she had followed the ethical rules that guide attorneys' behavior.

The lawyer, Lynne Stewart, 65, completed her testimony in the trial after a blistering cross-examination in which she admitted knowing that her client, imprisoned felon sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, advocated violence and was the leader of a militant organization that carried out deadly attacks.

Stewart, known for her left-wing politics and representation of unpopular, poor and minority clients, is fighting charges she broke the law by allowing Abdel Rahman to communicate from prison with the Islamic Group. It is classified as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government.

She could face 15 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge against her, providing "material support" to terrorists. Opening statements in the Manhattan federal case against Stewart and two co-defendants began in June, and the trial could end in late December.

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