NEWS

Midamar argues emails seized in guns-to-Lebanon search should be private

Some are privileged attorney-client correspondence, company says

Law enforcement officials at Midamar, 1105 60th Avenue SW, during a federal investigation in southwest Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Tuesday, May 12, 2015.  (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Law enforcement officials at Midamar, 1105 60th Avenue SW, during a federal investigation in southwest Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Tuesday, May 12, 2015. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The founder of Midamar Corp. will ask a federal judge next week for a protective order to prevent the government from reviewing some of the emails it seized during a gun smuggling investigation.

Midamar, a Halal food company. was one of the locations searched earlier this week after authorities say they found a stockpile of firearms and ammunition hidden among goods from a clothing drive for Syria and Lebanon that Midamar sponsored.

The guns and ammunition were seized and four people were arrested, but none of them were Midamar workers.

However, federal agents downloaded from Midamar’s email servers, according to a motion filed Friday in U.S. District Court.

Within the server are numerous emails containing attorney-client privileged information, which the government shouldn’t have, the motion contends.

The hearing is set for 11 a.m. Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

Founder William Aossey’s sons, Jalel and Yahya Nasser Aossey, are corporate officers of Midamar and Islamic Services of America, and they joined him in seeking the order.

William Aossey and his sons and the two companies are charged in another case involving mislabeling of Halal beef products and falsifying documents.

The motion contends the search was connected to one of Midamar’s clients.

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“Midamar had no knowledge of the contents in the shipments, and is in no way connected to the individuals accused,” Haytham Faraj, William Aossey’s attorney, wrote.

The four firearms defendants — Ali Herz, 50; his son, Adam Herz, 22; his brother Bassem Herz, 30, and Bassem’s wife Sarah Zeaiter, 24 — are charged with conspiracy to deliver a package to a carrier without notice that it contained firearms and ammunition.

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