updated 10/6/2008 4:08:49 PM ET 2008-10-06T20:08:49

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal from a former Florida professor once accused of being a top Palestinian terrorist.

The high court's decision Monday means that Sami Al-Arian, who once taught at the University of South Florida, is a step closer to facing trial in northern Virginia for refusing to testify to a grand jury.

Al-Arian struck a plea bargain in 2005 admitting that he conspired to assist the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. He argued that the terms of the deal barred the government from demanding his testimony in other terror cases.

But a federal appeals court disagreed, and now the U.S. Supreme Court is refusing to intervene. A judge in Virginia had wanted the appeal to be resolved before trying Al-Arian for contempt of court.

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