Federal prosecutors are moving to drop criminal contempt charges against a Palestinian activist whose case has sat in limbo for five years in front of a skeptical judge.

Former professor Sami Al-Arian has been a target of the Justice Department for more than a decade. He was initially charged with playing a leadership role in the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad. He ended up taking a plea bargain on greatly reduced charges.

Since 2008, prosecutors in Virginia have pursued contempt charges for his refusal to testify to a grand jury.

For five years, the case has sat dormant on the court docket. Judge Leonie (LAY'-uh-nee) Brinkema questioned prosecutors' tactics and refused to rule on pretrial motions.

Prosecutors said Friday they will drop the case, which will likely result in Al-Arian's deportation.