Hissam Nashar

Hissam Nashar was described at the trial as the biggest cigarette smuggler in town. In 1999, he was arrested in St. Louis for transporting counterfeit cigarette stamps. He pled guilty to the charge, cooperated with the government, and was released. However, at Mohamad’s trial, Nashar testified that his testimony was not pursuant to a plea agreement, nor was it to avoid other charges, including racketeering. He testified that he was helping the government as he did in the past, claiming he had helped the FBI, DEA and ATF. He claimed to expect no benefit.

In 2012, Mohamad’s attorney obtained Nashar’s file, which included his plea agreement. The agreement required Nashar to cooperate with the United States government. His sentencing transcripts show that he received good treatment and time reduction for his cooperation, including a “permanent visa” to stay in the country.

At resentencing, Nashar’s mistress at the time of the trial testified that he had told her that he had testified to protect himself and to get the benefits of cooperation.

At trial, Nashar also testified falsely that a person named “Isam” was a customer of Mohamad, that Isam owed Nashar money, and that instead of paying Nashar, Isam donated the money to Mohamad so Mohamad could send it to Hezbollah. The extensive government surveillance of Mohamad─the phone calls, pin registers, cameras, agents─and the testimony of the six government witnesses in the cigarette case yielded not a single reference to this ‘Isam’, a name that appears solely in Nashar’s testimony.

In 2010, while Mohamad was on his way to be resentenced, he met Nashar in Atlanta’s holdover. Nashar admitted to Mohamad that he had lied on the stand, and he promised to recant his testimony because he “felt bad.” However, when Nashar came to Charlotte, NC, and consulted his attorney, he changed his mind. He told Mohamad that his attorney had advised him not to recant: because of the nature of Mohamad’s case the Court would not believe that he was testifying willingly. Thus, he would harm himself but not help Mohamad.

Mr. Bell was not interested in the truth; otherwise, he would have saved the taxpayers millions of dollars by interviewing Mohamad and giving him a polygraph test. As mentioned, Mr. Bell’s main concern was to retire as a “champ” and to harvest his “career maker,” which he did. In doing so, he sent Mohamad to prison for the rest of his life, before it was reduced to 30 years. Is this justice?

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