CAIR Settles with Fraud Victims After Two Adverse Court Decisions

Washington, D.C. (June 4, 2019) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has settled a case originally filed 11 years ago in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.  The lawsuit against CAIR was brought by the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) on behalf of five victims of a massive fraud perpetrated by a CAIR lawyer, Morris Days.

CAIR’s decision to finally settle the case came only after two very adverse court decisions.  The first decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reversed an earlier dismissal of the lawsuit brought by AFLC Co-Founders and Senior Counsel David Yerushalmi and Robert J. Muise.  The Court of Appeals’ decision, the second appeal in this long-standing case that had included allegations of criminal racketeering by CAIR, mandated that the federal district court permit the case to go to a jury trial, set for September 2019.

The second court decision was by the trial court which refused to dismiss the consumer fraud statute count, which meant that AFLC’s clients would receive attorney’s fees irrespective of the amount the jury awarded as long as the jury found CAIR liable.  Given the aggressively fought litigation over the past decade, CAIR was looking at a possible judgment approaching one million dollars just for attorney’s fees.

It is thus no surprise that at a mediation conducted in the U.S. District Court in D.C. by U.S. Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey in late May, CAIR agreed to a settlement.  As is often the case, the terms and conditions of the settlement agreement are confidential, but the plaintiffs’ lead lawyer, David Yerushalmi, remarked:

“Our clients are extremely happy with the settlement and, in fact, they are so happy, they have authorized me to declare publicly that they have no problem disclosing all of the terms and conditions of the settlement agreement if CAIR agrees.  It is unlikely CAIR would agree, of course, because it is unlikely CAIR wants the public to learn the terms of the settlement.”

The plaintiffs in this case, originally five victims of the CAIR fraud, were all represented by Yerushalmi and Muise, but in the past year, one of the plaintiffs passed away and another was deported to South America.

Yerushalmi noted:

“During discovery, we exposed CAIR’s massive fraud and then concerted cover-up that included CAIR assuring its victim-clients that it would address their immigration legal problems.  In fact, our former client who is still a plaintiff in this litigation was deported, but only after CAIR had assured him that he would be granted legal status through an asylum program that he otherwise qualified for.  But for the CAIR fraud, our former client would still be in the U.S.  Unfortunately, now he is in parts unknown, and as a result, we could no longer represent him in this litigation. While his claim against CAIR remains, it will likely be dismissed unless he shows up and makes an appearance.”

The lawsuit began after CAIR hired for its Virginia offices a fake lawyer, Morris Days, who defrauded dozens if not hundreds of CAIR clients.  Once the fraud began to unravel, CAIR engaged in a massive cover-up, closing down the Virginia offices, firing the lawyer, and claiming to the CAIR victims that Days was not actually a CAIR lawyer. As alleged, CAIR knew of this fraud and purposefully conspired with Days to keep the CAIR clients from discovering that their legal matters were being mishandled or not handled at all.

CAIR, a self-described Muslim public interest law firm, was previously named as a Muslim Brotherhood-Hamas front group by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the federal criminal trial and conviction of a terrorist funding cell organized around one of the largest Muslim charities, the Holy Land Foundation (HLF).  HLF raised funds for violent jihad on behalf of Hamas, and top CAIR officials were part of the conspiracy.  In addition, several of CAIR’s top executives have been convicted of terror-related crimes.  As a result, the FBI publicly announced that it has terminated all outreach activities with the national organization, which bills itself as “America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization.”

Muise remarked:

“CAIR engaged in a massive criminal fraud in which literally hundreds of CAIR clients have been victimized.  In the recent court rulings, the federal courts in our nation’s capital have spoken clearly: CAIR was facing a jury trial for all of its fraudulent behavior and even a nominal judgement would have required CAIR to pay all of our clients’ legal fees accumulated over the past decade.  Justice might be slow and circuitous, but it finally came knocking at CAIR’s door for its due.  CAIR had no realistic choice but to settle.  Our clients are satisfied.  They obtained a just result.”

Yerushalmi concluded:

“Litigating against CAIR and similar American-based Muslim Brotherhood organizations requires patience and the ability to weather long and arduous litigation.  CAIR and its minions use every tactic in the book, including illegal and unethical practices, to avoid justice.  When we began this litigation 11 years ago, Dr. Daniel Pipes and the Middle East Forum stepped up to the plate to provide foundational financial and strategic support.  We are still standing today, and lady justice is smiling as a result of this support.”