NEW YORK - A federal jury in Dallas, Texas, found five men with ties to a major Muslim charity guilty of dozens of criminal allegations involving funding the Hamas terrorist group. The verdicts were handed down Monday against former leaders of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, the Texas organization once ranked as the country's largest Muslim charitable organization, The Washington Post reported Tuesday. The government charged at least $12 million raised in the United States was channeled to Hamas after the organization was banned as a terrorist group. Supporters of the five defendants said the government's case was built on fear-mongering and asserted Holy Land was a legitimate charity that provided relief to Palestinians living in need, the Dallas Morning News reported. Holy Land and its leadership had been investigated since the early 1990s. President George Bush announced the foundation had been shut down in 2001 and indictments were issued in 2004. A first trial ended in a mistrial, the Morning News recapped. "For many years, the Holy Land Foundation used the guise of charity to raise and funnel millions of dollars to the infrastructure of the Hamas terror organization," J. Patrick Rowan, assistant attorney general for national security, told the Post. "This prosecution demonstrates our resolve to ensure that humanitarian relief efforts are not used as a mechanism to disguise and enable support for terrorist groups." John Boyd, a defence, said the verdict is "a great injustice and it will certainly be appealed." There is "no evidence that any of Holy Land Foundation's funds went to anything but charity," he said. "It's just the government's position that the local charity organizations with whom the Holy Land Foundation were involved with were, in the government's view, affiliated with Hamas. It is also uncontested that our government and other non-Islamic charities routinely worked with those same local organizations before, during and after the period covered by the indictment." The indictment covered 1997 to 2001, he said. The Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish group that fights anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry, welcomed the convictions. The verdict "sends a strong and welcome signal that the United States will not be permitted to be a safe harbor for those who fund terrorism," according to a statement on the ADL's Web site attributed to the organization's director, Mark Briskman. But George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, long critical of the Bush administration's handling of the Holy Land case, called the case an "example of excessive and vexatious prosecution." "The intention was to chill Muslim charities in the U.S., and that is exactly what happened," he said. "The truth is, it's hard to get any money to the people who need it because you are talking about donations going to a part of the world where associations are very fluid and ambiguous," he said. "Areas of Palestine are controlled by Hamas and if you want charities to go in, you will give money to outlets that are probably somehow associated with Hamas." A Web site set up for the defendants' family and friends to express their views states that Holy Land "never funded violence." "It simply provided food, clothes, shelter, medical supplies and education to the suffering people in Palestine and other countries," according to Freedomtogive.com.