Bin Laden son-in-law going on trial in Manhattan

Bin Laden son-in-law going on trial in Manhattan

Posted: Updated:
In this courtroom drawing, Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, center, listens to a tranlator, as his federal defender, left, speaks in U.S. federal court Friday, March 8, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams) In this courtroom drawing, Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, center, listens to a tranlator, as his federal defender, left, speaks in U.S. federal court Friday, March 8, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams)

By LARRY NEUMEISTER Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Osama bin Laden's son-in-law was introduced to prospective jurors Monday at the start of his trial on charges that he conspired to kill Americans and support terrorists in his role as al-Qaida's spokesman after the Sept. 11 attacks.

U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan asked Sulaiman Abu Ghaith to turn and face the potential jurors before asking if any knew him. None did.

The judge drew silence as well when he asked if there was anyone who had never heard of al-Qaida.

The questioning was part of a process designed to shrink a jury pool of dozens of prospective jurors to the 12 anonymous jurors and several alternates necessary before opening statements begin as early as Wednesday.

The trial, expected to last about three weeks, began a year after Abu Ghaith was brought to the United States following his capture in Jordan.

Kaplan told prospective jurors that the intent of the trial was to decide whether Abu Ghaith had conspired to kill Americans, whether he conspired to provide material support and resources to terrorists and whether he actually supplied material support and resources to terrorists.

Abu Ghaith is the highest-ranking al-Qaida figure to face trial on U.S. soil since the 9/11 attacks. The government plans to show jurors during its 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.

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, who wore a beige suit to court Monday, 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. 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.

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, Abu Ghaith said he left Afghanistan in 2002 and entered Iran, where he was arrested and held in prisons and interrogated extensively.

He said he was heading home to Kuwait to see family when his 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.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Manhattan NewsManhattan NewsMore>>

  • Outdoor basketball courts losing popularity

    Outdoor basketball courts losing popularity

    Friday, July 25 2014 8:35 AM EDT2014-07-25 12:35:16 GMT
    Believe it or not this, some say New York's outdoor basketball courts are a dying entity. Even Rucker Park in Harlem -- where Dr. J and countless others honed their skills -- used to be standing room only all times of the day. Now there's plenty of room to stand on most days.Basketball programs like one at Chelsea Piers are gaining popularity. That means the place to hoop it up for many appears to be indoors.
    Believe it or not this, some say New York's outdoor basketball courts are a dying entity. Even Rucker Park in Harlem -- where Dr. J and countless others honed their skills -- used to be standing room only all times of the day. Now there's plenty of room to stand on most days.Basketball programs like one at Chelsea Piers are gaining popularity. That means the place to hoop it up for many appears to be indoors.
  • Manhattan nursery school uses sanitizing machine to keep air clean

    Manhattan nursery school uses sanitizing machine to keep air clean

    Friday, July 25 2014 7:50 AM EDT2014-07-25 11:50:43 GMT
    All of us feel the same way about "cooties": Eww. At the Goddard School on the Upper West Side, a high-tech machine is keeping "cooties" out of the classroom. "This is the latest and then most effective sanitization method available today," says Bill Swan, the owner of the Goddard School. He purchased the ZONO Sanitech for his school about six months ago. The machine is the size of a double refrigerator and uses oxygen to kill viruses and bacteria.
    All of us feel the same way about "cooties": Eww. At the Goddard School on the Upper West Side, a high-tech machine is keeping "cooties" out of the classroom. "This is the latest and then most effective sanitization method available today," says Bill Swan, the owner of the Goddard School. He purchased the ZONO Sanitech for his school about six months ago. The machine is the size of a double refrigerator and uses oxygen to kill viruses and bacteria.
  • The Big Idea

    Making New York City more energy efficient

    Making New York City more energy efficient

    Friday, July 25 2014 6:45 AM EDT2014-07-25 10:45:43 GMT
    More than half the population of New York City rides public transportation to work. No other metropolis in this country even approaches that percentage or the MTA's total number of riders. For that reason, New York likely ranks as the most energy-efficient city in the nation. But what would it take to make the city even more energy-efficient or even self-sufficient?
    More than half the population of New York City rides public transportation to work. No other metropolis in this country even approaches that percentage or the MTA's total number of riders. For that reason, New York likely ranks as the most energy-efficient city in the nation. But what would it take to make the city even more energy-efficient or even self-sufficient?
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices