Tampa, FL (APE) – In a stunning setback for federal prosecutors and the USA Patriot Act, a federal jury today cleared a former professor of 8 of 17 charges. The professor was cleared on over half of the most serious charges, including conspiring to produce bomb making materials, and conspiring to maim and murder people overseas. Professor Roy Hinkley was noted to be tearful, yet jubilant as he hugged his defense attorney after the verdict.
While cleared of the most serious charges, the jury remained deadlocked on some others, and the professor will be remanded back into custody while prosecutors debate whether or not to move forward on the remaining charges. The professor was immediately whisked away back to an undisclosed secured island location where he has been held in custody since being charged almost 3 years ago.
Secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, currently on her “Apology-Palooza” tour of European Union nations refused to comment if the island location was one of the secret CIA prisons that the administration has grudgingly acknowledged that they will neither confirm or deny exist. “I refuse to compromise national security over this,” Ms. Rice stated. “It is common knowledge that the ongoing war against terror has moved into the Pacific, and some of these islands have become front-line battlegrounds. People need to understand that in all things the United States government abides by local ordinances and the professor and his crew have been afforded all rights guaranteed them under their local constitution. When and if the United States government makes a mistake we will make every attempt to assure that it is not just cast away.”
Five of the professor’s co-conspirators were acquitted of all charges by the jury, but have not as yet been released by the government. A sixth co-conspirator’s charges of money laundering and SEC violations deadlocked the jury, and as with the professor, prosecutors will begin debate over whether he will be retried. His wife was apparently cleared of all charges.
Throughout the six-month trial, jurors were shown thousands of documents, some written on bits of palm fronds and tree bark. They also reviewed recordings of actual bits of intercepted AM radio traffic, and viewed the very banana and coconut powered radio that had been modified by the professor for transmission. Some of the most damning evidence was the professor’s handwritten formulas for distilling and manufacturing explosive compounds out of commonly available desert island materials, and this was apparently one of the main issues over which the jury was deadlocked for some time.
A juror who wished to remain anonymous, stated, “Mr. Hinkley is an extraordinary man. I never would’ve believed that you could get high explosive compounds out of bananas and coconuts, and I guess I still don’t… but the government had a sort of believable argument.”
An anonymous Bush administration spokesperson acknowledged that this was a huge setback for the Patriot Act. Efforts are now underway to possibly rename the block of legislation so as not to further sully the term “patriot”. In light of the declining fortunes of the NFL team of the same name, as well as the tarnished reputation of the military’s antimissile system, it is felt that a renaming of the act to salvage it may be warranted. The government is also reportedly considering makeovers for the terms “freedom” and “democracy”.