CAIR seen nodding in approval.

(OC Register) — Eleven current and former university students pleaded not guilty Friday to misdemeanor charges for disrupting the speech of an Israeli diplomat at UC Irvine last year.

Seven of the so-called “Irvine 11” defendants were present for the arraignment, and each answered “Not guilty, your honor,” to the charges. The other four entered their pleas through their defense attorneys.

Last month, the defendants filed a motion asking Orange County Superior Court Judge Peter J. Wilson to remove the Orange County District Attorney’s Office from the case, saying prosecutors illegally issued subpoenas and referred to the case internally as the “UCI Muslim Case,” a term they say is evidence of “religious bias” against them.

Prosecutors say the defendants have failed, among other things, to support their motion with affidavits from witnesses competent to testify to its facts, and must demonstrate that the “conflict is so severe that it is unlikely” they will receive fair treatment. They add that the defendants’ claims of prosecutorial misconduct are unsubstantiated and untrue.

Use of the term “UCI Muslim Case” in the heading in an internal district attorney e-mail does not show bias against Muslims as defendants, prosecutors wrote in their opposition papers.

“The term UCI Muslim is not a disparaging or derogatory term,” the opposition papers say.