The Government presented evidence that Ali and Hassan planned and participated in fundraising teleconferences in which a speaker would give a lecture; that Hassan kept track of the donors’ phone numbers; that Ali spoke with Hassan Afgoye, who at one time was responsible for al Shabaab’s finances, and discussed money that she arranged to be sent to him or to his associates; that Ali also spoke with Agoye about the activities of al Shabaab in Somalia, and was happy to learn that enemies were killed; and that Hassan spoke with members of al Shabaab and he was happy to hear about the killings carried out by this group. Furthermore, the Government presented evidence of Ali’s and Hassan’s connection with groups both inside and outside of Somalia, and with terrorists such as Hassan Dahir Aweys, and demonstrated that al Shabaab had connections to al Qaeda. The Government further presented evidence related to two false-statement counts against Hassan which were related to statements made in 2009 to an FBI agent that Ali did not know anyone who sent money to al Shabaab and similar groups; nor that Ali had ever asked that money be sent to Somalia or elsewhere through a “hawala” (an informal value transfer system based on the performance and honor of a network of money brokers).
In their closing arguments, Ali and Hassan defended their actions as an intention to provide humanitarian relief to Somalia. The jury returned a guilty verdict on all counts. The district court sentenced Ali to 240 months in prison and Hassan to 120 months in prison. Both Ali and Hassan appealed.