Updated 04/30/2012 11:39 PM
Terror Trial Judge Asks Jurors To Weigh Defendant's Actions Rather Than Ideas
A Brooklyn jury started deliberating on Monday the fate of an accused terrorist from Queens who was charged with plotting to bomb the city subways in 2009. NY1's Criminal Justice reporter Dean Meminger filed the following report.
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Ten men and two women in Brooklyn are now working to decide if Adis Medunjanin is guilty of plotting in 2009 to blow up city subways with his two high school friends from Queens. He is also accused of receiving terrorist training from al Qaida in Pakistan and conspiring to kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.
Hours after getting the case jurors asked for clarification of two charges. Both involve alleged violations of a statute covering terrorism transcending national boundaries.
"The judge has instructed us to work with the prosecutors to come up with an instruction and explanation so that they can do the job they're clearly doing, and that is to reach a verdict based solely on the consideration of the evidence as well as the law," said defense attorney Robert Gottlieb.
The defense attorneys admitted Medunjanin was upset with the treatment of Muslims in Afghanistan and did travel to Pakistan to meet with terrorists, but they said he never acted on killing soldiers or blowing up any subways.
However, his two alleged co-conspirators, Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay, pleaded guilty to the charges and testified Medunjanin was involved.
During his charge to the jury, federal judge John Gleeson told them they have to judge his actions, and not his ideas, saying, "This defendant is not on trial for harboring extremist views, religious or political."
Jurors in the high-profile federal case are anonymous, meaning their names and addresses are not a part of the public record. It's something defense attorneys disagree with, but they were happy this terror case was held in a public court.
"The message is this case, and in every case in this country, if we are true to our ideals, will be heard by citizens, verdicts by citizens, not in military commissions and secret tribunals or star chambers. That is not what this country is about," said Gottlieb.
Medunjanin's family was in court. When the defendant looked over to acknowledge them, his mother gave him a big smile.
The defense said their client is no terrorist but a devout Muslim, but jurors will have the final say.