Wednesday, October 01, 2014

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Closing Arguments Conclude in Trial of Alleged al-Qaeda Spokesman

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TWC News: Closing Arguments Conclude in Trial of Alleged al-Qaeda Spokesman
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It's now up to a Manhattan jury to decide one of the most closely-watched trials to happen here in this age of terrorism. Tuesday morning, a judge will hand them the case of the U.S. versus Sulaiman Abu Ghaith to decide whether Osama bin Laden's son helped plan the mass murder of Americans. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.

In their last effort to persuade jurors, federal prosecutors and defense attorneys spent all of Monday delivering their closing arguments in the case against Sulaiman Abu Ghaith.

Assistant U.S. attorney John Cronan said Abu Ghaith used video and audio recordings to conspire with Osama bin Laden to kill more Americans after the 9/11 attacks.

"Sulaiman Abu Ghaith was Al Qaida's principal messenger.... With this man, Al Qaida took its private propaganda global," said Cronan.

During this high profile terrorism trial, Abu Ghaith surprisingly took the witness stand in his own defense last week. He said he appeared on video because bin Laden asked him to. He testified he unsuccessfully tried to convince the Al Qaida leader that he wasn't the right person because he wasn't a military man. During closing arguments, defense attorneys said the U.S. government didn't prove guilt with its many witnesses, including law enforcement agents and convicted terrorists. Defense attorney Stanley Cohen told jurors prosecutors tried to scare them into convicting Abu Ghaith by playing Al Qaida video that showed the 9/11 attacks.

"And they went back to it again and again and again and again as if the jury didn't know about 9/11," said Cohen.

In several recordings, Abu Ghaith enthusiastically vowed the storm of planes would continue.

Federal Prosecutor Michael Ferrara argued Abu Ghaith's own videos, some of them sitting with his future father-in-law bin Laden are all that's needed to prove his guilt.

"Don't let him run from the evidence. Don't let him run from his choices. Don't let him run from what he did," said Ferrara.

The defense says not so fast.

"Mr. Abu Ghaith said some horrible things that were recorded on camera and that were broadcast around the world. But the fundamental question is whether that represents a conspiracy," said Zoe Dolan, attorney for Abu Ghaith.

It's now up to the jury to decide. If convicted, Abu Ghaith could spend the rest of life in prison.

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