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‘Terrorism’ Comment Warrants New Trial

(CN) - An attorney's comment about "judicial terrorism" at trial rendered a jury incapable of rendering a fair verdict in a contract case brought by an India-born business owner, a Texas appeals court ruled.

Showbiz Multimedia sued Mountain States Mortgage Centers, alleging fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.

Showbiz is led by Vinay Karna, a U.S. citizen born in India, who claimed that Mountain States refused to give him a loan to buy a hotel, even though his company met all the conditions.

During closing arguments, Mountain States' counsel said, "What Mr. Karna has done has identified just the most recent injustice and that is to use this court in a judicial terrorism. He has extorted money - attempted to extort money from 21 different groups."

The trial court ruled for Mountain States, but Judge Sharp of the Houston-based First District Texas Court of Appeals overturned the decision.

"The judiciary must ensure that a trial is free from improper appeals to race or nationalism that the introduction of the words 'terrorism' and 'extortion' ... brought to this case," Sharp ruled.

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