Abu Ghaith, 48, is on trial in Manhattan federal court for
conspiring to kill Americans, among other charges. Prosecutors
contend he was a top-tier member of al Qaeda and knew of various
On Monday, prosecutors played two videos from October 2001 in which
Abu Ghaith, a Kuwaiti and son in law of Osama bin Laden, is seen
warning of further attacks in the wake of 9/11.
"There are thousands of young Muslims who look forward to die for
the sake of Allah," Abu Ghaith said in one video. "The storm of
airplanes will not stop."
At another point, Abu Ghaith warns Muslims "not to board aircraft
and we advise them not to live in high rises and tall buildings."
Also on Monday, prosecutors questioned via a video feed a convicted
al Qaeda operative linked to "shoe bomber" Richard Reid, who
testified that he was planning shoe-bomb attacks on airplanes around
the same time that Abu Ghaith was warning of additional attacks. The
implication was that Abu Ghaith was aware of these planned attacks.
The government witness, Saajid Badat, testified that he met with bin
Laden and other al Qaeda leaders regarding a plan to explode devices
on airplanes. At the same time, he acknowledged that he never spoke
to Abu Ghaith about the plot and said he did not know if Abu Ghaith
was aware of it.
Badat, 34, appeared via video from the United Kingdom, his head
shaved and wearing a trim beard along with a gray suit.
From late October to December 2001, Badat said he plotted attacks
with Reid, the man who became known as the shoe bomber after his
attempt to detonate explosives on a flight to Miami in 2001. Reid, a
British citizen, pleaded guilty to terrorism charges in a U.S.
District Court in Boston.
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Badat, also a British citizen, was sentenced to 13 years in prison
for the plot after pleading guity in Britain to conspiring to harm
an aircraft. His sentence was later reduced for his cooperation with
authorities and he has since been released from prison.
Badat has testified in other terror cases, including the successful
prosecution in Brooklyn federal court in 2012 of Adis Medunjanin,
for planning a suicide bomb attack on New York City subways.
Abu Ghaith is one of the highest-ranking figures linked to al Qaeda
to face a civilian jury on terrorism-related charges since the
attacks that destroyed New York's World Trade Center, which stood
just blocks from the courthouse where he is on trial. He faces life
in prison if convicted.
Abu Ghaith's lawyers plan to cross-examine Badat on Tuesday. The
trial is expected to last until the end of March.
The case is U.S. v. Abu Ghayth, U.S. District Court, Southern
District of New York, No. 98-cr-01023.
(Reporting by Bernard Vaughan; editing by Eric Effron and Cynthia
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