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>>

  • New York adults gather for skipping club

    New York adults gather for skipping club

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 10:36 PM EDT2014-07-23 02:36:57 GMT
    Meet one fitness class that's spreading positivity and shedding pounds by skipping in a skipping club. Michelle Joni is the group's founder. She came up with the idea when she was heading to get a manicure and it was so cold she started skipping to stay warm.
    Meet one fitness class that's spreading positivity and shedding pounds by skipping in a skipping club. Michelle Joni is the group's founder. She came up with the idea when she was heading to get a manicure and it was so cold she started skipping to stay warm.
  • Manhattan West Project

    Skyline of West Side is changing

    Skyline of West Side is changing

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 6:25 PM EDT2014-07-22 22:25:22 GMT
    The Manhattan West Project is a $4.5 billion development that will change the skyline on the West Side. The five-acre site that will consist of office towers, a residential building, retail, a 5-star hotel, health and fitness facilities, rooftop gardens, restaurants, cafes, and a park is being built on top of active rail yards. Fox 5 got a look at the progress of the project.
    The Manhattan West Project is a $4.5 billion development that will change the skyline on the West Side. The five-acre site that will consist of office towers, a residential building, retail, a 5-star hotel, health and fitness facilities, rooftop gardens, restaurants, cafes, and a park is being built on top of active rail yards. Fox 5 got a look at the progress of the project.
  • Real estate heir charged for urinating on candy

    Real estate heir charged for urinating on candy

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 3:51 PM EDT2014-07-22 19:51:49 GMT
    A New York City real estate heir who admitted killing his neighbor a decade ago in Texas is facing a new charge in Houston that accuses him of urinating on candy at a drug store. Authorities say 71-year-old Robert Durst was arrested Sunday after arguing with store employees. They say he was charged with criminal mischief after urinating on at least $100 worth of candy.
    A New York City real estate heir who admitted killing his neighbor a decade ago in Texas is facing a new charge in Houston that accuses him of urinating on candy at a drug store. Authorities say 71-year-old Robert Durst was arrested Sunday after arguing with store employees. They say he was charged with criminal mischief after urinating on at least $100 worth of candy.
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 | Terms of Service | Ad Choices