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Friday, June 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Eleventh-Hour Bid by Bin Laden’s Relative

MANHATTAN (CN) - With trial to begin today, an attorney for Osama bin Laden's son-in-law filed an eleventh-hour motion seeking to strengthen arguments that prosecutors may have confused Sulaiman Abu Ghaith with another man.

Attorneys will deliver arguments for the first time today to a federal jury tasked with deciding whether Abu Ghaith met with his father-in-law bin Laden shortly after Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, to plot more destruction.

Abu Ghaith pleaded not guilty about one year ago. Last week, his attorneys introduced new line of defense: that he had been confused with a similarly named Guantanamo Bay detainee.

Abu Ghaith's attorney Zoe Dolan failed to persuade U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan to give her more time to explore evidence to support that assertion at a hearing on Friday.

Dolan said she expected that evidence was supported by a D.C. Circuit decision that she could not retrieve because it may not have been made public.

Dolan apparently located the ruling and attached it to a motion to the court on Tuesday.

She wrote that the D.C. Circuit's ruling showed that the name "Salman Abu Ghaith" found on an al-Qaida "brevity card" matched the description of the Guantanamo detainee rather than her client. A brevity card contains the names of pseudonyms of members.

Calling the ruling an "admission of a party opponent," Dolan asked Kaplan to take notice of it for trial.

It remains undisputed that Abu Ghaith appeared in a propaganda video, warning the United States and its allies that "[a] great army is gathering against you."

Speaking on behalf of al-Qaida, Abu Ghaith allegedly called upon "the nation of Islam" to do battle against "the Jews, the Christians and the Americans," according to the indictment. Bin Laden and his former deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri also appeared in the video.

The trial was set to begin at 11:30 a.m. today (Wednesday).

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