A Miami jury has found Jose Padilla and two co-defendants guilty on all counts.
Padilla and his co-defendants, Adham Amin Hassoun and Kifah Wael Jayyousi, were convicted of conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim people overseas, which carries a penalty of life in prison. All three were also convicted of two terrorism material support counts, which carry potential 15-year sentences each.
Sentencing is set for December fifth for all three defendants.
During the defense’s closing statements lawyers for Padilla and his two co-defendants argued were unfairly swept up in post 9/11 hysteria.
“There are times of crisis in our nation when fear runs high and causes our government to overreach,” said Michael Caruso, Padilla’s defense attorney.
Attorney William Swor who’s representing one of Padilla’s co-defendants, Jayyousi, urged the jury not to fall for scare tactics.
“(The prosecutor) mentioned al Qaeda 100 times in their closing argument, said Swor, “They had one witness who mentioned al Qaeda, but they mention al Qaeda 100 times because it’s scary, because it will scare you.”
During his closing, Swor maintained that the government concocted a case against these Islamic activists in a post 9/11 atmosphere of fear.
“The facts of this case do not establish a crime,” said Swor, “it’s snake oil, folks. They promised they would bring in witnesses, people who were there (when the terror was being plotted), but “where are they?”
Swor argued that the defendants were only involved in humanitarian efforts, clothing, food and other relief, for Islamic people in war torn areas like Bosnia and Chechnya. And while they were vocal proponents of Islamic causes, they were not terrorists and did not support or commit terror.
Monday, it was a very different story as prosecutors called Padilla a “star recruit” for al Qaeda.