NEW YORK (AP) – A federal jury in Manhattan will hear charges that Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law conspired to kill Americans as al-Qaida’s spokesman after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Jury selection for the trial of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith _ the highest-ranking al-Qaida figure to face trial on U.S. soil since the attacks _ was expected to get underway Monday. Prosecutors will try to prove to the anonymous jury that the one-time terrorist network spokesman tried to rally others to kill Americans.
Prosecutors plan to show jurors during their opening statement a picture of Abu Ghaith seated with bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders on the day after Sept. 11, 2001, as they make statements about the attacks. They say Abu Ghaith described the circumstances of the filming in his post-arrest statement.
Prosecution evidence also will include post-9/11 videos in which the charismatic bearded man promises more attacks on the United States as devastating as those that destroyed the World Trade Center.
“The Americans must know that the storm of airplanes will not stop, God willing, and there are thousands of young people who are as keen about death as Americans are about life,” Abu Ghaith said in an Oct. 9, 2001, speech.
In one widely circulated propaganda video, Abu Ghaith can be seen sitting with bin Laden and current al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri against a rocky backdrop.
Defense lawyers for the balding and bearded defendant asserted last week that some of the government’s evidence relates to a detainee at Guantanamo Bay with a similar name to Abu Ghaith rather than to the defendant, who has pleaded not guilty. U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan on Friday called the mistaken identity claim “utterly meritless.”
Abu Ghaith’s attorneys are also trying to enlist help from professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed to bolster the case for acquittal, though it hasn’t come fast enough for them to gain permission from Kaplan for Mohammed to testify, perhaps through a video link to Guantanamo Bay. If convicted, Abu Ghaith could face life in prison.
Defense attorneys said Friday that Mohammed had provided a 14-page response to written questions, but his lawyer was refusing to turn it over unless there was a guarantee that military lawyers at Guantanamo wouldn’t review it. The judge refused to consider the matter further.
The Kuwaiti-born defendant was flown to the United States a year ago from Jordan, where he was captured as he headed to Kuwait, which had revoked his citizenship after 9/11.
In an affidavit filed last year as he tried to suppress a 22-page statement he made to authorities, Abu Ghaith said he left Afghanistan in 2002 and entered Iran, where he was arrested and held in prisons and interrogated extensively.
Abu Ghaith said he was released from Iranian custody on Jan. 11, 2013, when he entered Turkey, where he was detained and interrogated before his Feb. 28, 2013, release. He said he was heading home to Kuwait on a plane to see family when the flight landed instead in Amman, Jordan, where he was handcuffed and turned over to American authorities.
Abu Ghaith is married to bin Laden’s eldest daughter, Fatima, one of nearly two dozen children bin Laden was believed to have fathered before he was killed in Pakistan by U.S. special forces in 2011.
Before heading to Afghanistan in 2000, Abu Ghaith was an imam at a Kuwaiti mosque and taught high school religion classes.
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy
- 6 ways the air in your home could be making you sick
- CrossFit dangers: 5 common injuries and how to deal with them