Arguments due in CA Muslim students' speech case

By AMY TAXIN | September 19, 2011 | 2:10 PM EDT

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — Attorneys' summations are expected in the trial of 10 Muslim students charged with shouting down a talk by an Israeli diplomat at the University of California, Irvine.

Closing arguments set to begin Monday involve misdemeanor charges filed after Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren's speech was interrupted in February 2010.

Orange County prosecutors say the students broke the law by plotting to deprive Oren of speaking and others of hearing him. Defense attorneys say the student protest fell within the boundaries of the law.

The students are accused of conspiring to disrupt a meeting and disrupting a meeting. If convicted, they could face a sentence of up to a year in jail.

The case has sparked debate about freedom of speech and raised questions about prosecutorial discretion.