Egyptian judge to give verdict in retrial of Al Jazeera journalists

Al Jazeera journalists Baher Mohamed, Mohamed Fahmy and Peter Greste appear in court earlier this year.

(CNN)A judge is expected to issue a verdict Saturday in the retrial of Al Jazeera journalists accused of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and trying to bring down the Egyptian regime.

The defendants or prosecution can appeal Saturday's verdict. That would be the second and final appeal in the case.
Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed and Peter Greste, who were arrested in December 2013, stand accused of broadcasting footage -- including video of clashes between police and protesters -- that portrayed the regime falsely with the intention of bringing it down.
    There is uncertainty about whether Greste, who was deported to his native Australia in January after a previous verdict was appealed, is being tried in abstentia. The judge has told lawyers that there is nothing in court documents about his current status.
    At the time of the journalists' arrests, Egypt was in the midst of political turmoil following a popular coup against President Mohamed Morsy and his Brotherhood-backed government. The military took power and declared the political party a terrorist organization shortly after.
    An Egyptian judge convicted all three last year on charges that included conspiring with the Brotherhood, spreading false news and endangering national security.
    The journalists and the Qatari-based news network have maintained their innocence.
    Their case was appealed, and in January Egypt's highest court granted them a retrial.
    Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi then ordered Greste's deportation, and he returned to Australia.
    The judge ordered the prosecution to provide proof that Greste had left Egypt and to obtain documents from the State Information Services on whether the journalists were accredited and had permits to broadcast throughout Egypt.
    In May, Fahmy sued the network for $100 million in punitive and remedial damages for alleged negligence and breach of contract, claiming the network misinformed him about its legal status in Egypt and aired his reports on a banned Egyptian channel. Attorney Joanna Gislason said Al Jazeera put the journalists "in harm's way."
    Al Jazeera responded in a statement at the time, "It's sad to see Fahmy and his lawyer repeating criticisms of Al Jazeera made by the Egyptian authorities."