A Manhattan federal judge has ruled that the case agaisnst an adviser to Osama bin Laden is more than sufficient to permit the case to go before a jury, after lawyers for the defendant, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, argued the burden of proof had not been met.
Abu Ghaith, 48, is a Kuwaiti cleric who married one of Bin Laden’s daughters and recorded the rhetoric that followed the 9/11 attacks.
The NY Times reports that on two other counts, which accuse Mr. Abu Ghaith of providing material support to terrorists and conspiring to do so, the evidence was “more than sufficient to warrant a conviction,” the judge said, adding, “That, of course, is ultimately up to the jury, not me.” The judge made his remarks outside the presence of the jury.
Mr. Abu Ghaith sat quietly in court on Friday, occasionally rubbing his beard with his hand, as prosecutors played audio and video excerpts from his speeches, including one in which he warned that “the storm of airplanes will not abate.”
Prosecutors have told the jury that such statements showed Mr. Abu Ghaith knew about Al Qaeda’s plot to have terrorists like Richard C. Reid try to blow up airplanes with explosives hidden in their shoes.
George Corey, an investigator for the United States attorney’s office, testified Friday that he had viewed three speeches in which Mr. Abu Ghaith had made that or similar references.
But under cross examination, Mr. Corey was asked whether he had heard the defendant refer in the recordings to “a specific future act of terrorism.” Mr. Corey said no.
See: The New York Times