MLFA Wins: Irfan Khan vs. United States – Southern District of Florida

Today, MLFA received an historic court ruling in the case of Khan v. United States as to government liability for malicious prosecution of an American Muslim. Irfan Khan was arrested and indicted for Material Support of Terrorism in May of 2011. He spent more than 317 days in solitary confinement while his wife and children were sleeping on floors as they were forced out of their apartment due to the false allegations of terrorism against Mr. Khan.  After almost 11 months in custody, the government released Mr. Khan and dropped the charges – with no explanation or apology.   

In 2015, MLFA partnered with Morgan & Morgan, the largest plaintiff’s law firm in the country, which had brought a civil action against the United States on Mr. Khan’s behalf to hold the government accountable for their actions against Mr. Khan.  After a twelve-year fight over classified discovery and continuous obstruction by the government, in February of 2024, this case finally went to trial before Chief Judge Altonaga in Miami, Florida (1:13-cv-24366-CMA, FLSD).  Over a four-week trial, MLFA supported and participated with Morgan & Morgan’s trial lawyers to demonstrate the government’s liability.  Today, in an historic court ruling, Chief Judge Altonaga found that the government lacked probable cause in all stages of the prosecution of Mr. Khan, and that the actions of the F.B.I. agents constituted legal malice.  This is the first time in more than 20 years since 9/11 that the government has been held civilly liable for their actions in prosecuting American Muslims.  A hearing to determine the amount of financial damages awarded to Mr. Khan will be set for late summer, 2024. 

Combined with today’s unanimous U.S. Supreme Court’s victory in F.B.I. v. Fikre, 601 U. S. ____ (2024) (a case brought by CAIR in which MLFA filed an Amicus Brief) holding the government accountable for placing individuals on the Terror Watchlist, today’s two decisions, Khan and Fikre, send a strong message to the United States’s government that they can no longer “shoot first and ask questions later” when it comes to the accusations of terrorism related to American Muslims.