Abu Ghaith's lawyers are expected to present their case next week.
But they will ask presiding U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan over
the weekend for an order permitting them to introduce evidence from
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, which would require a slight delay,
according to Stanley Cohen, one of the lawyers.
The judge previously said he was "deeply skeptical" the lawyers have
a right to access Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the September
11, 2001 attacks, who is being held at the U.S. military prison at
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Cohen said Mohammad has responded to written
questions that could help his client.
"I think the case has proven exactly what we predicted it would be
at the opening," Cohen said. "There's some ugly words and bad
associations and no evidence of a knowing conspiracy to murder
The U.S. government contends that Abu Ghaith, 48, became a leader in
al Qaeda after 9/11 as a recruiter of fighters, and that he knew of
planned attacks against the United States.
Abu Ghaith is also charged with providing material support and
resources to terrorists and conspiring to provide material support
and resources to terrorists.
Federal prosecutors showed jurors videos in which Abu Ghaith, on at
least one occasion in the company of bin Laden and other al Qaeda
leaders, praised the attacks of 9/11, called on other Muslims to
join the fight and warned of more attacks.
In a video from October 2001, Abu Ghaith claimed: "There are
thousands of young Muslims who look forward to die for the sake of
Allah," and that "The storm of airplanes will not stop."
Michael Butsch, an FBI agent who questioned Abu Ghaith after his
arrest last year, testified that Abu Ghaith admitted he made an
agreement with bin Laden to record propaganda videos following 9/11.
However, Butsch also said Abu Ghaith told him he declined to become
an official member of al Qaeda.
To buttress the argument that Abu Ghaith was in fact privy to the
impending attacks, the government also called as a witness Saajid
Badat, a British citizen who testified via live video feed from the
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Badat said he was plotting with fellow Briton Richard Reid to
detonate shoe bombs aboard domestic U.S. flights around the same
time Abu Ghaith was warning of more airplane attacks.
Badat, 34, said he pulled out of the plan after his parents
confronted him. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison after
pleading guilty in Britain to conspiring to harm an aircraft. His
sentence was later reduced for his cooperation with British and U.S.
authorities and he has since been released from prison.
Badat acknowledged under questioning, however, that he never spoke
to Abu Ghaith about the plot and said he did not know if Abu Ghaith
was aware of it.
Abu Ghaith's lawyers seized on the seeming disconnect in their
cross-examination, during which they suggested Badat was testifying
in part to prevent his extradition to the United States, where he is
also under indictment for the shoe bomber plot.
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.
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 David Gregorio)
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