Judge bars Khalid Sheikh Mohammed testimony in trial of bin Lade - FOX 35 News Orlando

Judge bars Khalid Sheikh Mohammed testimony in trial of bin Laden relative

Posted: Updated:
Sulaiman Abu Ghaith Sulaiman Abu Ghaith

By TOM HAYS | AP

NEW YORK (AP) -- A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the self-described architect of the Sept. 11 attacks will not be allowed to testify in the terrorism trial of Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, but defense lawyers later asked him to reconsider.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan firmly rejected a request by the lawyers to call Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as a witness at the trial of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith using live, closed-circuit video from Guantanamo Bay, where Mohammed is imprisoned.

At a hearing during an off day at Abu Ghaith's trial, Kaplan told the defense that the testimony would be irrelevant because there was no evidence that Mohammed and Abu Ghaith had ever met or even been in the same country. He also criticized Abu Ghaith's lawyers for making the request at such a late stage.

"I have considered this very carefully," Kaplan said. "This is much ado about nothing."

When defense attorney Stanley Cohen stood to try to argue further, Kaplan ordered him to sit down.

"Too little, too late," the judge said in a stern tone. "It's not here. It's denied."

Prosecutors had pointed to a recent written statement by Mohammed that he would refuse to testify in the case as another reason to deny the defense request to call him as a witness. But shortly after the ruling, Cohen sent the judge a letter saying he had received word from Mohammed's lawyer that Mohammed had now "agreed to be examined without limitation on all relevant topics." There was no immediate response from the government or the judge.

Abu Ghaith has pleaded not guilty to charges he conspired to kill Americans and aided al-Qaida as the terror group's spokesman after the Sept. 11 attacks. The 48-year-old onetime imam at a Kuwaiti mosque was brought to New York from Turkey last year.

The judge's ruling also bars the jury from considering the 14-page statement Mohammed provided in response to 451 questions from Abu Ghaith's lawyers.

In the statement, Mohammed said Abu Ghaith had no military role in al-Qaida - a claim possibly supporting defense arguments that Abu Ghaith had no knowledge of pending al-Qaida attacks when he warned on a widely circulated video after Sept. 11, 2001, that "the storm of airplanes will not abate."

At the same time, Mohammed's statement seemed to back the government's position that Abu Ghaith was a key player in al-Qaida, saying fighting one of the world's superpowers meant "we would have to resort to a long war of attrition to which the military and media alike contribute."

Mohammed said he never personally spoke to Abu Ghaith about plots to blow up U.S. airplanes with shoe bombs in December 2001, when Mohammed headed al-Qaida's operations conducted outside of Afghanistan.

Abu Ghaith is the highest-level al-Qaida figure to be tried in the U.S. since the Sept. 11 attacks. His trial is scheduled to resume Wednesday.

  • Manhattan NewsManhattan NewsMore>>

  • Tyga calls for Empire State Building to go gold

    Tyga calls for Empire State Building to go gold

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 10:37 PM EDT2014-08-20 02:37:52 GMT
    The push to go gold for pediatric cancer has spread to the hip hop world. Popular rapper Tyga is joining those calling for the Empire State Building to light up for a good cause.
    The push to go gold for pediatric cancer has spread to the hip hop world. Popular rapper Tyga is joining those calling for the Empire State Building to light up for a good cause.
  • Times Square to go gold for cancer research

    Times Square to go gold for cancer research

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 7:04 PM EDT2014-08-19 23:04:06 GMT
    Things are looking up for cute little Cami King. Not only is her cancer in remission, she also just got to meet Mickey, Minnie and Elmo in Times Square. But, if you can believe it, there's something else this 4-year-old is even more excited about: Times Square is going gold. The chairman of the Times Square Advertising Coalition announced the crossroads of the world is going to light up in gold to raise awareness for pediatric cancer research.
    Things are looking up for cute little Cami King. Not only is her cancer in remission, she also just got to meet Mickey, Minnie and Elmo in Times Square. But, if you can believe it, there's something else this 4-year-old is even more excited about: Times Square is going gold. The chairman of the Times Square Advertising Coalition announced the crossroads of the world is going to light up in gold to raise awareness for pediatric cancer research.
  • Times Square characters: we don't work for free

    Times Square characters: we don't work for free

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 5:42 PM EDT2014-08-19 21:42:12 GMT
    Times Square characters want to be taken seriously and want their tips. The mostly immigrant workers are now called the Association of Artists United for a Smile and are fighting to protect their jobs, in light of a recent crackdown. Jorge Duran says he makes about $150 a day in tips dressing up as the Statue of Liberty. He says he stands around for hours, sweating inside a costume, and says it is annoying and unfair if he poses for a good picture and gets nothing.
    Times Square characters want to be taken seriously and want their tips. The mostly immigrant workers are now called the Association of Artists United for a Smile and are fighting to protect their jobs, in light of a recent crackdown. Jorge Duran says he makes about $150 a day in tips dressing up as the Statue of Liberty. He says he stands around for hours, sweating inside a costume, and says it is annoying and unfair if he poses for a good picture and gets nothing.
Powered by WorldNow

35 Skyline Drive
Lake Mary, FL 32746

Phone: (407) 644-3535
News Tips: (866) 55-FOX35

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices