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While Zeitoun was incarcerated, first at Camp Greyhound and then in a maximum-security prison, Kathy was, as she puts it, "battling her own demons". His wrenching story of 23 days without a court hearing became the plot of Dave Eggers’s book “Zeitoun,” and turned him into a New Orleans hero. Zeitoun had grown up in a coastal town called Jableh in Syria with many brothers and sisters. Knowing Zeitoun is still in the city, they’ve asked if he could check on their properties. He almost took her head off. He also pleaded guilty last year to charges of negligent injury after pushing his wife to the floor and punching her in the head, and was sentenced to anger management classes. “I’m not going to be quiet about it anymore because being quiet puts him in a position to do it again,” she told the Times-Picayune. The family of Zeitoun's ex-wife, Kathy Zeitoun, stood up and rushed out of the courtroom as soon as Marullo issued his verdict. You have permission to edit this article. Active Themes Kathy tells Zeitoun that some friends have called. "An Orleans Parish judge on Monday [June 6, 2016] found Zeitoun, 58, guilty on a felony stalking count that carries a sentence of two to five years in prison. "I see no evidence of proof beyond a reasonable doubt that an aggravated battery ever took place," he said. It's our system," said her brother, who asked to be identified only as Gino. Abdulrahman Zeitoun is a Syrian American who has built a successful business in New Orleans. He said the prosecutors would have likely had more luck had they brought charges of domestic-abuse battery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon or aggravated criminal damage to property. "He had warned her repeatedly that they could both be put in jail, or he could be returned to prison. The Zeitoun Foundation, created in 2009 by the couple and Mr. Eggers to aid in the rebuilding of New Orleans, has distributed more than $250,000 in grants, according to its Web site. Prison officials deny Zeitoun even a single phone call, and he spends weeks in jail without being made aware of the charges against him. Anything had happened." And each time, the charges kept growing," Lawrence said outside the courtroom after the verdict was announced. The subject of the best-selling nonfiction book "Zeitoun" about a nightmarish incarceration during Hurricane Katrina's aftermath has been accused of plotting to murder his ex-wife, her son and another man. He will eventually be released, they said. "He came after her in a fit of rage," Favret told Marullo. She testified she felt a lot of "pressure from friends and family, because of the book, because of the movie, because of our business reputation. But in the March 2011 case, Kathy Zeitoun asked the district attorney's office to reduce the charges from domestic-abuse battery to negligent injuring. He was held for a month in a makeshift jail at the Greyhound bus station in New Orleans. Marullo evidently agreed. Katrina Hero Facing Charges in New Orleans, the plot of Dave Eggers’s book “Zeitoun,”. In an interview with The New Orleans Times-Picayune, Ms. Zeitoun said the book had accurately portrayed their relationship at the time. Marullo said he couldn't trust the testimony of Pugh, who has been imprisoned in four states and lied to his child's mother about his name for all five years they were together, according to her testimony on behalf of Zeitoun's defense. ", "We are extremely disappointed and disturbed by the court's ruling in this case," said Assistant District Attorney Christopher Bowman, a spokesman for Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro. . Each time, the computerized voice on the phone told her that Abdulrahman Zeitoun had been released from jail, where he had been held for the past year. Rob’s husband, Walt, is stubborn like Zeitoun—both couples have been close for years—but even Walt wants to leave. With his wife, Kathy, an American who converted to Islam as an adult, and their children, Zeitoun feels a strong connection to his adopted city and country. Zeitoun was assured by Homeland Security and the missionary, the man with the bibles, that they'd call Kathy but he still wasn't assured that they had indeed called her. "He has no credibility at all. Zeitoun by Dave Eggers. "The New York Times called and Dr. Phil called and The Washington Post called. ", "The first time he attacked me I kept everything quiet," she said. Zeitoun is a moving and eye-opening journalistic account of a much-loved and respected Syrian-born small business owner and resident of New Orleans in the days before, during, and after Hurricane Katrina. In issuing his verdict, Judge Frank Marullo blasted prosecutors for putting the former inmate, Donald Pugh, on the stand. After Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans, Abdulrahman Zeitoun canoed through the city, rescuing neighbors and bringing them bottled water — until he was wrongfully arrested by the police. Anything could happen. On Friday, September 9, Zeitoun and most of the other prisoners are transferred to Elayn Hunt Correctional Center, a maximum-security prison in St. Gabriel. He was acquitted on both counts. "That guy is a liar," Marullo said. Abdulrahman Zeitoun and his wife Kathy in their Broadmoor home in July, 2009. "He came after her trying to crack her head open. . 3. Eggers relates the events of Zeitoun from multiple perspectives. Zeitoun, 55, had waived his right to a jury trial when he was charged with solicitation of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder of his ex-wife, stemming from a July 25, 2012, incident in which he allegedly attacked her with a tire iron on Prytania Street. Zeitoun still thinks it will die overland or in the Gulf. Abdulrahman Zeitoun was found not guilty Tuesday of trying to kill his ex-wife and offering a fellow inmate $20,000 to commit the crime. Kathy is still beside herself, having gotten the call from the missionary only a few hours before, when she receives another call from a man from the Department of Homeland Security. Zeitoun is a nonfiction narrative recounting the trials and ordeals of the Zeitoun family during Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. But Ms. Zeitoun said she could no longer remain silent about her ex-husband’s violent side. His father had been a ship captain, but after a near-death experience had decided to settle down. Still, both Ahmad and Zeitoun would end up being seamen themselves. Pugh said Zeitoun also told him to buy a "throwaway phone" and take pictures to confirm she was dead. Overview. The New Orleans Advocate reported that a New Orleans judge convicted Abdulrahman Zeitoun after a day-long trial without a jury. A judge set bail at $75,000, about a hundred times more than the standard for such an infraction, but Zeitoun still wasn’t allowed to make a phone call. That's an injustice.". But in recent years, the stable, loving relationship between Mr. Zeitoun and his wife, Kathy, that was described in the 2009 best seller has taken a series of dark turns. Zeitoun, who is originally from Syria, will remain in jail for a short period of time while the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency reviews his situation, according to his attorneys. Zeitoun later learns that the prison was built so quickly by prisoners from Jackson from the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola. Apparition. He was later led to a “court room” where he was represented by a public defender and received a bail of $75,000 but still … In March 2011, Zeitoun allegedly beat Kathy Zeitoun and threatened to kill her in front of their four children. His arrest was a jarring twist for the main character of the acclaimed book. Ibert. ... they still deserve compassion. It also relates to the fact that Zeitoun is dehumanized during his time in prison. It Happened in America: Katrina’s Secret Jail September 20th, 2009 . When she took him to a certain property in Algiers, he could kill her there, Pugh testified Zeitoun told him. Zeitoun study guide contains a biography of Dave Eggers, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. 1 of 52 Abdulrahman Zeitoun, 56, of New Orleans has reportedly been indicted on a felony charge of stalking his ex-wife, Kathy Zeitoun. Transferred to an isolated prison and placed in a wing filled with those arrested in the aftermath of Katrina, Zeitoun was eventually told that he was being charged with petty larceny. The couple divorced last year after he was convicted of assaulting her. Zeitoun still recognizes the potential danger—and is perhaps even paranoid from the media via Kathy—even as he wants to keep Kathy from worrying. Abdulrahman Zeitoun was charged Wednesday in New Orleans with soliciting the murder of his ex-wife, son and another man. Indeed, Zeitoun itself can be read as an act of bearing witnesses to its subject's ordeal in prison, which received scant media coverage after the fact and might otherwise have faded into obscurity. Eggers suggests that even if a person has lost their dignity--whether by committing crimes or by being mistreated by others--they still deserve to be treated compassionately. The man tells her that Zeitoun is at Hunt prison and that they have no more interest in him. Kathy asks what he was in there for. The police did not release any details of the alleged murder plot. (Michael DeMocker, The Times-Picayune archive). But Mr. Zeitoun, a Syrian-born American citizen, was arrested by the police and National Guardsmen who mistook him for a terrorism suspect and detained him for days at a Greyhound Bus station and then a maximum-security prison. Our Lady of Zeitoun, also known simply as El-Zeitoun, Zeitun or rarely Our Lady of Light, was a mass Marian apparition that occurred in the Zeitoun district of Cairo, Egypt, over a period of 2–3 years beginning on April 2, 1968. Zeitoun found not guilty on charges he tried to kill his ex-wife, Naomi Martin, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune. And on Wednesday, the New Orleans police charged him with plotting to have Kathy Zeitoun, her son and another man murdered. Eggers' book won numerous awards, as well as interest from filmmaker Jonathan Demme, who has said he wanted to make it into an animated feature. Via: Buffalo News: When the storm hit, Zeitoun stayed, to protect his house, help friends and clients, and watch over properties he and Kathy owned: their office building and houses bought as investments. The trial laid bare the troubling turn the Zeitouns' marriage took since Hurricane Katrina. "I felt that gave him the ability to do it again. I'm surprised the state put him on the stand at all. She said detectives had “credible information” of the plot. He noted that "one of our office's most talented prosecutors presented a very compelling case against the defendant.". “Zeitoun is a riveting, intimate, wide-scanning, disturbing, inspiring nonfiction account of a New Orleans married couple named Abdulrahman and Kathy Zeitoun who were dragged through their own special branch of Kafkaesque (for once the adjective is unavoidable) hell after Hurricane Katrina. "It is what it is. "Maybe if I die and I go to some other life, my guy who I choose to call God will say, 'You did one good thing that erases all the bad things you've done,'" he told Marullo. Zeitoun was portrayed as a hero protagonist in the best-selling 2009 book "Zeitoun" by Dave Eggers, one of the most well-received chronicles of Hurricane Katrina. But she said her ex-husband had since grown angrier and more violent and his Islamic views had become more “radical.”. ", Other questions:subscriberservices@theadvocate.com. Zeitoun would travel around for nearly a decade on ships before settling in Baton Rouge. He said he would try to keep his sister safe from her ex-husband with "restraining orders, whatever we need to do. Zeitoun hugged his defense attorneys, J.C. Lawrence and A.J. After the book, the Zeitouns became vocal campaigners against police corruption and unlawful detention. Charges against him were later dropped. ", Assistant District Attorneys David Pipes and Lauren Favret had argued Zeitoun was serious about killing his ex-wife. Abdulrahman Zeitoun, owner of a painting contractor business, lives in New Orleans, Louisiana with his wife Kathy and their four children.Friday, August 25, 2005, is a normal day for the family: the children attend school, Kathy fields phone calls from clients and Zeitoun visits his many work sites throughout the city to liaise and oversee. There, Zeitoun and Nasser are separated from Todd and Ronnie and held in the highest-security unit. Zeitoun, who is originally from Syria, will remain in jail for a short period of time while the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency reviews his situation, according to his attorneys. The couple was divorced in February 2012. Abdulrahman Zeitoun was sentenced to four years in prison Monday, Nov. 21, 2016, for felony stalking. It follows Mr. Zeitoun after the storm as he ferried desperate neighbors to higher ground in his secondhand canoe. Pugh, a self-described thief who has also been imprisoned in Ohio, Georgia and Alabama, said he decided to tell the authorities about Zeitoun's plot. Abdulrahman Zeitoun, 54, faces charges of offering $20,000 to a fellow jail … AMY GOODMAN: Zeitoun got very sick in the jail and in the prison. Mr. Zeitoun, 54, is back where he was seven years ago — in a New Orleans jail — on three charges of soliciting murder, said Remi Braden, a police spokeswoman. Last month, Mr. Zeitoun was jailed on charges that he attacked Ms. Zeitoun with a tire iron, punching and choking her in public until a witness stopped him. Zeitoun, who has been in jail since the incident, is accused of soliciting an Orleans Parish inmate to kill Kathy Zeitoun, her son from a previous marriage and another man who frequently accompanied her on outings, said New Orleans police spokesperson Remi Braden. Pugh, who was to be released soon from jail at the time he was imprisoned with Zeitoun at Orleans Parish Prison, said Zeitoun instructed him to call Kathy Zeitoun -- he said Zeitoun wrote her phone number on an envelope, which was introduced as evidence -- and ask to see one of the family's rental properties. The attorneys had argued that the district attorney's office had trumped up the charges on their client because of his fame. Mr. Zeitoun, 54, is back where he was seven years ago — in a New Orleans jail — on three charges of soliciting murder, said Remi Braden, a police spokeswoman. The July 2012 tire-iron beating incident was the second time police had been called for the couple. . Kathy’s friend Rob Stanislaw calls her, saying she’d be crazy not to leave. Zeitoun remains in jail, with bail set at more than one million dollars. The country’s largest prison, its prisoners have an average sentence of 89.9 years and have long been forced to do backbreaking labor. The couple's supposedly loving relationship formed the backbone of Eggers' book, which portrays Zeitoun as a hero who, while canoeing through the flooded streets of New Orleans trying to help people, was wrongfully arrested by soldiers on accusations of looting. 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