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Guilty Verdict Reached in Terror Trial of London Cleric

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TWC News: Guilty Verdict Reached in Terror Trial of London Cleric
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A guilty verdict has been reached in Lower Manhattan in the terror trial of a London cleric accused of trying to start a terror training camp in the U.S. NY1's Dean Meminger has the story.

Internationally known as a fiery preacher from London, Abu Hamza al-Masri instead sat quietly in a courtroom Monday as a jury found him guilty on all 11 counts in his terrorism trial.

"Abu Hamza, as the trial showed, attempted to portray himself as a preacher of faith, but he was instead a trainer of terrorists. That has now be proven in an American court," said attorney Preet Bharara.

The federal jury convicted al-Masri of providing support to terrorists in Afghanistan and Yemen.

In Yemen, where hostages, including Americans, were kidnapped in 1998. Four of the European tourists were killed.

He was also convicted of helping to set up a terror training camp in Bly, Oregon in 1999.

The verdict didn't come as a shock to Al-Masri and his lawyers, but they were still disappointed.

"We're not surprised because we know how much the government relied on what he said, relied on the fact of al-Qaeda, relied on bin Laden, relied on the World Trade Center, September 11, all those things which he was not charged with directly," said defense attorney Jeremy Schneider.

Al-Masri did take the stand in his defense during this five week trial. At times he was calm, but during cross examination by federal prosecutors, he became confrontational.

The jury foreman, Howard Bailynson, says convicting al-Masri for the kidnappings in Yemen wasn't difficult, while some of the other charges were more challenging. However, he says faxes between al-Masri and one of his followers hurt his attorneys' defense on the training camp on the west coast.

"Clearly, there's some verbiage in those faxes that indicated Abu Hamza's awareness and willingness to send people to Bly, Orgeon," said Bailynson.

Abu Hamza al-Masri faces up to life in prison. He will be sentenced in September. His defense lawyers say they will appeal the guilty verdict.

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