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Defense Rests in Rap Brown Trial

March 7, 2002

ATLANTA (AP) _ The defense in the murder trial of the former black-power radical once known as H. Rap Brown rested its case Friday without calling him to the stand.

Closing arguments were scheduled for Friday.

Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, now a 58-year-old Muslim cleric, is charged with killing one sheriff’s deputy and wounding another in a shootout in Atlanta last March. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

The defense contends Al-Amin is a victim of mistaken identity and a target of a government vendetta connected with his activism during the 1960s.

The final defense witness testified that someone else opened fire the night the deputies were gunned down.

``It was not him. It was not the same stature,″ said Imhotep Shaka, a retail shop owner and disc jockey who lives near the West End neighborhood shooting site. Shaka said he saw the shooting from his bedroom window but did not immediately call police because he feared harassment.

Also Thursday, two defense witnesses testified they saw a large white van backing down the street after they heard gunshots, contradicting the wounded sheriff, who said Al-Amin drove away in a black Mercedes.

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