NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A filmmaker told a jury Thursday about how his documentary that was supposed to be about a popular expatriate bar near the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv suddenly became about a terrorist attack.
Testifying in federal court in Brooklyn, Joshua Faudem said he had just worked a shift as a bartender at Mike’s Place in April 2003 when a suicide bomber struck, WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported.
Faudem, who directed the film “Blues by the Beach,” said the bar was packed with people of all nationalities. There was a lot of music, he said. Then there was an explosion.
The blast killed two musicians and another bartender. Faudem pushed his girlfriend to the floor to protect her.
Faudem was able to identify the suicide bomber from a photo posted on a Hamas website as a man he had seen standing outside Mike’s Place 90 minutes before the bomber blew himself up.
Trailer for “Blues by the Beach”
The testimony was intended to establish a link between the attack and bank accounts belonging to Hamas.
Attorneys for victims of Hamas suicide bombings from 2000 to 2004 are accusing Arab Bank of financing terror, sometimes allegedly running the money through a branch on Madison Avenue.
The lawsuit filed in 2004 accused the bank of violating the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act, which allows victims of U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations to seek compensation. The U.S. State Department designated Hamas a terrorist group in 1997.
Hundreds of people are suing the bank for allegedly laundering money to fund the group’s suicide bombings.
The attorney for the Jordan-based bank defended the company in court earlier this month, saying it never knowingly handled money that paid for the bombings.
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