Professor’s lawyer says video footage will clear his client charged in death of pro-Israel protester

by Gabriel Martinez
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Professor Charged

The attorney for a professor charged in the fatal incident involving a pro-Israel protester asserted that video evidence will exonerate his client. This development comes amid ongoing investigations by California authorities, who have yet to exclude the possibility of a hate crime in the incident.

Loay Abdelfattah Alnaji, 50, faces charges of involuntary manslaughter and battery in the death of 69-year-old Paul Kessler. These charges were leveled after extensive review of over 600 pieces of evidence and interviews with more than 60 witnesses, as stated by Ventura County District Attorney Erik Nasarenko. Alnaji, who has pleaded not guilty, could face prison if convicted, given the special allegations of causing great bodily harm attached to each charge.

The confrontation between Alnaji and Kessler occurred on November 5, during protests linked to the Israel-Hamas conflict. Kessler, a participant in a pro-Israel demonstration, sustained fatal head injuries after falling during a physical altercation with Alnaji. Kessler’s fall happened moments after Alnaji, reportedly having been provoked by Kessler’s aggressive behavior, might have inadvertently struck Kessler while aiming at his phone with a megaphone.

Ron Bamieh, Alnaji’s lawyer, maintains that his client did not cause Kessler’s fall and was several feet away when it occurred. He also raised concerns about the case being driven more by emotion than reason.

The authorities noted that Kessler had non-fatal facial injuries but did not specify their cause or the exact circumstances leading to his fall. Despite this, new physical and forensic evidence helped formulate the charges, according to Nasarenko, who also mentioned ongoing investigations to determine if the altercation involved hate speech.

Alnaji, a computer science professor, remained at the scene and reported the incident to the authorities. He has been an advocate for peace and humanitarian causes, as highlighted by his lawyer.

The district attorney has acknowledged the restraint shown by local Muslim and Jewish communities amidst rising national tensions and expressed gratitude for their trust in the legal process. He also met with Kessler’s family, who have requested privacy. Kessler, remembered for his long career in medical sales and as a college instructor and pilot, is survived by his wife and son.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Professor Charged

Who is the professor charged in the death of a pro-Israel protester?

Loay Abdelfattah Alnaji, a 50-year-old college professor, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and battery in the death of Paul Kessler, a 69-year-old pro-Israel demonstrator.

What are the specifics of the charges against Loay Abdelfattah Alnaji?

Alnaji faces charges of involuntary manslaughter and battery, each accompanied by a special allegation of inflicting great bodily injury. If convicted, these charges could result in a prison sentence.

How did the confrontation between Alnaji and Kessler occur?

The altercation took place during protests related to the Israel-Hamas war on November 5. It escalated into a physical confrontation, resulting in Kessler falling back and hitting his head, which led to fatal injuries.

What is Alnaji’s defense according to his lawyer?

Alnaji’s lawyer, Ron Bamieh, claims that Alnaji did not cause Kessler’s fall and was several feet away when it occurred. Bamieh suggests that Kessler might have fallen on his own and that any contact between Alnaji and Kessler was unintentional.

What is the significance of the video footage mentioned by Alnaji’s lawyer?

The video footage, as per Alnaji’s lawyer, shows that Alnaji did not push Kessler and was not in close proximity to him when Kessler fell. This footage is pivotal to Alnaji’s defense.

Are hate crime charges being considered in this case?

California authorities have not ruled out the possibility of a hate crime in this incident. Investigations are ongoing to determine if the altercation involved hate speech or demonstrated antipathy towards a specific group.

What has been the community response to this incident?

Local Muslim and Jewish leaders have shown restraint and respect for the criminal process, with the district attorney expressing gratitude for their measured comments and trust in law enforcement.

More about Professor Charged

  • California Professor Charged in Protester’s Death
  • Israel-Hamas Conflict and Legal Implications
  • Involuntary Manslaughter: Legal Definition and Cases
  • The Role of Video Evidence in Criminal Defense
  • Hate Crime Laws and Investigations in the United States
  • Community Responses to Political and Legal Issues

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