Terrorism Trial|Wrapping up in New York

MANHATTAN (CN) – Closing arguments are expected Monday in the federal terrorism trial of Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law, an accused spokesman for al-Qaida.
     It will cap two weeks of testimony that the 18-member jury has heard in the case against Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, including testimony from Abu Ghaith himself in a surprising twist Wednesday.
     The jury will be charged with determining whether Abu Ghaith conspired to kill Americans after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, and whether he supported a known terrorist organization.
     The trial has unfolded in U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan’s high-rise Federal courtroom just blocks from One World Trade, where the World Trade Center once stood.
     Abu Ghaith, the highest-ranking al-Qaida member to face trial in the United States after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, has pleaded not guilty. He faces life in prison if convicted.
     On Wednesday, he testified about how he met with bin Laden in a cave on the morning of the attacks, and reluctantly agreed to bin Laden’s request to record fiery videotaped speeches praising the attacks and warning British and American Muslims to stay out of airplanes and out of high-rise buildings because a “storm of airplanes” would not abate.
     Prosecutors are trying to show that those speeches indicate that Abu Ghaith knew of later plans to wreak terror, including the failed “Shoe Bomber” Richard Reid’s plot to blow up a transatlantic plane with a bomb in his shoe.
     Abu Ghaith’s defense attorneys maintain that he did not know of any terrorist attacks beforehand, that his threats were idle and not specifically related to any known planned attack on his part.
     The jury is supposedly unaware that Abu Ghaith married bin Laden’s oldest daughter, Fatima, 5 years ago.

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