The witness, Saajid Badat, admittedly plotted with shoe bomber
Richard Reid, who attempted to detonate explosives on a flight to
Miami in December 2001.
Badat has since renounced terrorism and cooperated with authorities
in the United Kingdom and United States, where Abu Ghaith is on
trial in Manhattan federal court. Prosecutors say Abu Ghaith was
among top Qaeda leaders, serving as a spokesman and recruiter after
the September 11, 2001 attacks by hijacked jets on the World Trade
Center and the Pentagon.
On Monday, Badat testified via video from an undisclosed location in
the United Kingdom that he was plotting with the shoe bomber soon
after 9/11, around the same time Abu Ghaith recorded videos warning
of more airplane attacks.
Badat, 34, said he left the shoe bomber plot. But on Tuesday, he
acknowledged under questioning that even after he withdrew, he did
not alert authorities of Reid's plan.
"It was OK for Richard Reid to kill, but not you?" asked Stanley
Cohen, a lawyer for Abu Ghaith. Cohen was also speaking from the
"It wasn't OK for anyone to do that," said Badat, lowering his
voice. "I wasn't feeling right at the time."
Prosecutors contend that Abu Ghaith knew of the shoe-bomber plot,
though Badat said on Monday he never spoke to Abu Ghaith about the
plot and did not know if Abu Ghaith was aware of it.
On Tuesday, Cohen repeatedly asked Badat if he ever met Abu Ghaith
at any of the Al Qaeda training camps or guest houses where he
stayed in Afghanistan. Badat said multiple times that he had "no
specific recollection" of meeting Abu Ghaith.
A native of Gloucester, England, Badat was sentenced to 13 years in
prison for the shoe bomber plot after pleading guilty in Britain to
conspiring to harm an aircraft. His sentence was later reduced for
his cooperation with U.K. and U.S. authorities and he has since been
released from prison.
On Tuesday, Cohen sought to portray Badat as someone willing to
testify in terrorism-related trials to prevent his extradition to
the United States, where he is under indictment for his role in the
shoe bomber plot. Cohen asked Badat if he believed U.S. law
enforcement would refrain from bringing him to the United States as
long as he cooperated with them.
"That's not my belief," Badat said.
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Though it did not appear to have any direct bearing on Abu Ghaith's
trial, Badat's testimony provided chilling details about life as an
In a December 2001 trip to Pakistan with Reid, Badat testified, he
provided a shoe bomb to a group of four or five Malaysians involved
in a separate plot, one of whom, he said, was a pilot.
"I think it was to access the cockpit, if that was proven to be
difficult," Badat said, when asked why he gave a shoe bomb to the
Malaysians. It was unclear what became of that Malaysian plot.
Badat also testified that bin Laden once asked him in a one-on-one
meeting in late September or early October 2001 if he grasped the
significance of the shoe bomber plot.
"The American economy is like a chain," Badat said bin Laden told
him. "If you break one link, you will bring down the American
Abu Ghaith is on trial for conspiring to kill Americans, providing
material support and resources to terrorists and conspiring to
provide material support and resources to terrorists. He faces life
The trial resumes on Thursday and is expected to conclude by the end
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 David
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