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)

News

12 hours ago in National

Making headlines this week

sb50

A look back at some of the biggest stories this week and the headlines you may have missed.

12 hours ago in Entertainment

McDonald’s serving up ‘smarter’ Happy Meals

18-overlay-2

Ronald McDonald plans to serve up a side of literacy as the fast food giant swaps toys for millions of books.

12 hours ago in Entertainment

OPENING WEEKEND: ‘Hail, Caesar!’ and ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’

12-overlay-2

Here's a look at some of the films set to open this weekend.

19 hours ago in Entertainment

Ben Stiller pouts his way into the record books at ‘Zoolander 2’ premiere

24-overlay-1

Ben Stiller entered the history books on Thursday night when he set a record for taking a picture with the world's largest selfie stick during the "Zoolander 2" premiere in London.

20 hours ago in Entertainment

REVIEW: ‘Hail, Caesar!’ isn’t the Coen Brothers’ best – but it’s not their worst

20-overlay-4

Beneath all the old Hollywood glamour is familiar Coen territory: faith, folly, finding your purpose and just trying to live a good life.