News

Bin Laden’s son-in-law convicted in NYC on terror charges

Bin Laden’s son-in-law convicted in NYC on terror charges

CONVICTED: Suleiman Abu Ghaith was convicted of plotting to kill Americans and supporting terrorists. Photo: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

By Joseph Ax

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Suleiman Abu Ghaith, a son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, was found guilty of terrorism-related charges on Wednesday following a three-week trial that offered an unusually intimate portrait of al Qaeda’s former leader in the days after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Abu Ghaith, 48, a Kuwait-born teacher, faces life in prison after a federal court jury in New York convicted him of conspiring to kill Americans, conspiring to provide material support for terrorists, and providing such support.

Jurors took just over one day to reach a verdict.

Prosecutors had accused Abu Ghaith, one of the highest-profile bin Laden advisers to face trial in a U.S. civilian court since 2001, of acting as an al Qaeda mouthpiece, using videotapes of his inflammatory rhetoric to recruit new fighters.

They also said Abu Ghaith knew in advance of an attempt to detonate a shoe bomb aboard an airplane by Briton Richard Reid in December 2001, citing in part an October 2001 video in which he warned Americans that the “storm of airplanes will not stop.”

Lawyers for Abu Ghaith said the prosecution was based on “ugly words and bad associations,” rather than actual evidence that the defendant knew of or joined plots against Americans.

In a surprising move, Abu Ghaith took the witness stand in his own defense, denying he helped plot al Qaeda attacks and claiming he never became a formal member of the group.

Abu Ghaith also described meeting with bin Laden in Afghanistan hours after the September 11 hijacked plane attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people and destroyed the World Trade Center, only a few blocks from the courthouse where the trial took place.

“We are the ones who did this,” bin Laden told Abu Ghaith, who had learned of the attacks via news reports, according to the defendant’s testimony.

Bin Laden, a founder of al Qaeda, was killed by U.S. forces in May 2011 at this hideout in Pakistan.

As in several other terrorism trials held in U.S. civilian courts, the jury remained anonymous.

(Additional reporting by Nate Raymond; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Grant McCool)

Recent Headlines

in Viral Videos, Weird

Police issue tickets for pizza, French fries

17-overlay2

Police in one New Hampshire town are rewarding residents for doing the right thing.

in Music

Carrie Underwood is a mom

carrieunderwoodmikefisher

The singer welcomed her first child with husband Mike Fisher.

in Viral Videos

‘Fifty Shades of Wayne’ replaces Christian Grey with Batman

22-overlay

We think the Dark Knight should be cast in the sequel.

in Music

Miranda Lambert, touring partners get matching tattoos

mirandalambert

The country star gets a permanent reminder of her time on the road.

in Music

Ty Herndon hopes to make country music history

herndon

The singer, who "came out" last year, hopes to be the first man in country to sing a love song to another man.