Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, the son-in-law of Osama bin Laden and an alleged high-ranking member of al-Qaida, appeared in federal court in Lower Manhattan today on charges of conspiring to kill Americans, and the presiding judge said he was concerned that the federal sequester could delay of the start of the trial.
Abu Ghaith, seen above in a courtroom sketch, is accused of being al-Qaida's spokesman. He appeared subdued in court today, as he wore a blue prison uniform and listened to an interpreter through headphones.
The defense asked for a January trial date, in order to prepare translations, but U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan said he may start the case in September.
Also, the defense said the country's mandatory, across-the-board congressional spending cuts will force all federal public defenders to have a five-week furlough by October.
The judge said he did not want to hear about furloughs in a case of this magnitude.
Prosecutors said the alleged terrorist boasted in a video about the September 11th attacks, saying that more terror attacks are coming.
Defense lawyers were not sure yet whether to ask for a change of venue, as they were uncertain whether a fair trial could be possible a few blocks from the World Trade Center.
The trial is expected to last about five weeks.