Trial set for Jerusalem terror convict who moved to US

After Jewish judge drops out of case over connection to bombed shop, new judge schedules hearings

Rasmieh Yousef Odeh (photo credit: AP/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)
Rasmieh Yousef Odeh (photo credit: AP/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

A federal judge has scheduled a November 4 trial for a Chicago-area female Arab leader accused of covering up her conviction in a fatal terrorist bombing in Jerusalem when she entered the US.

Detroit US District Judge Gershwin Drain on Tuesday also scheduled motion hearings for October 2 and 21 in the immigration fraud case against Rasmieh Yousef Odeh.

Drain got the case after Judge Paul Borman withdrew because his family held an ownership stake in the Jerusalem supermarket that Odeh and others were convicted of plotting to bomb in 1969. Two men died in the blast, Hebrew University students Leon Kanner and Eddie Joffe.

Odeh, who became a naturalized citizen in 2004, was arrested in October for failing to mention her conviction in her immigration papers.

Israel jailed Odeh for life for her involvement in a number of Jerusalem bombings in 1969. She was released in a prisoner exchange with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in 1980, and immigrated to the United States from Jordan in 1995.

The Illinois Department of Insurance last year briefly employed Odeh as a health care navigator, an official who assists people seeking health care options through the Affordable Care Act. Now known as Rasmea Yousef, she’s associate director of Chicago’s Arab American Action Network.

Borman, who is Jewish, refused an earlier request by Odeh’s lawyers that he step down from the case on the basis of his long history of involvement with the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit and his likely contacts with the Israeli military and its court system.

But he later said that federal prosecutors gave him additional information on the Israeli bombing case against Odeh that made him change his mind.

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