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Jury Deliberations Begin In Trial Over Muslim Students’ Speech Protest

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SANTA ANA (AP) — Jury deliberations have begun in the trial of 10 Muslim students charged with disrupting a speech by an Israeli diplomat at the University of California, Irvine.

Jurors received the case Tuesday afternoon after hearing closing arguments. They are being asked to decide whether the students broke the law or were exercising a right to demonstrate freely.

The students face misdemeanor charges of conspiring to disrupt a meeting and disrupting a meeting. If convicted, they could face sentences ranging from probation with community service and fines to a year in jail.

Prosecutors argue the students acted as censors when they shouted down Ambassador Michael Oren’s February 2010 speech about U.S.-Israel relations.

Defense lawyers counter that the students acted within the law.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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