Libya Funding Suspected Terrorist's Defense
MANHATTAN (CN) - Libya has helped underwrite the legal defense of a suspected co-conspirator of the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa, according to documents recently unsealed by a federal judge.
Last week, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan ordered attorney Bernard Kleinman to show him the names of the foreign government entity funding his legal defense of Nazih Abdul Hamed al Ruqai, better known by his nom de guerre Abu Anas al-Libi.
U.S. Delta Force operatives snatched al Ruqai from his home in Tripoli, Libya in October to face allegations that he scouted U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania as twin targets of al-Qaida bombings that killed 224 people and injured thousands in 1998.
With a Nov. 3 trial looming, prosecutors said that Kleinman's acceptance of third party funding might present a conflict of interest for his client and have requested a hearing on it.
Kleinman unsuccessfully fought to keep the information confidential.
While Kaplan let him write the names on slips of paper shown privately last week, the judge unsealed their identities on Monday because of the "public interest" in disclosure. The New York Times had requested lifting the secrecy of the information before the ruling.
Kleinman's handwritten notes reveal the donor to be the Libyan government, through its representatives Adel el Babaa, Dhafra Fawazzi, Erin Petrey and a man named Faisal whose last name is not specified.
The parties are expected to reconvene in August for a hearing to determine whether the funding compromises Kleinman's representation of the suspect.
Kleinman declined to comment.