MANHATTAN (CN) - This month's trial of suspected terrorist Khalid al Fawwaz will be pushed back, by just one week, after co-defendant Abu Anas al-Libi died over the long weekend, a federal judge said Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan called death of the suspect, born as Nazih Abdul Hamed al Ruqai, "very regrettable" at the Tuesday afternoon hearing.
Just over a month ago, when al-Libi had pushed to delay the trial scheduled for Jan. 12, 2015, Kaplan rejected that as the best way to handle the defendant's "incurable and terminal" liver cancer.
A further delay "may deprive entirely the public of a trial of al Liby on these charges, the magnitude and seriousness of which cannot be overstated," Kaplan said in late November.
Al-Libi and Fawwaz are charged with having conspired in the 1998 twin bombings of U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 224 people and injured thousands more, foreshadowing the destruction that al-Qaida would wreak again on Sept. 11, 2001.
Prosecutors say the bombings were directly tied to a notorious Declaration of Jihad that Fawwaz helped Osama bin Laden transmit against the United States from a London office in 1996.
Fawwaz waived his right to appear at the hearing Tuesday, in which Kaplan pushed the trial a week to Jan. 20.
The charges against Al-Libi meanwhile are still technically in force, Kaplan said, noting that the defendant was "with us in spirit."
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