New York, NY, United States (4E) – A federal jury in Manhattan convicted Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law and post-9/11 spokesman, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, for conspiracy to kill Americans and supporting terrorists on Wednesday.
A courtroom deputy read the verdict after the jurors deliberated for more than five hours at the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, just blocks from the site of the World Trade Center (WTC) destroyed in the 9/11 attack in 2001. Abu Ghaith was stone-faced upon hearing an interpreter’s Arabic translation of the verdict through earphones before he was escorted out of the courtroom.
The 48-year-old Abu Ghaith, a Kuwaiti cleric married to bin Laden’s eldest daughter, Fatima, is facing life sentence from the conviction. His sentencing is scheduled on Sept. 8.
Abu Ghaith’s lawyer, Stanley Cohen, said his client plans to appeal the verdict believing the trial was not fair. Cohen said Judge Lewis Kaplan did not allow alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to testify in Abu Ghaith’s defense and pressured jurors with a six-hour deadline to make a verdict on Wednesday. The defense lawyer added that there was no evidence his client had a role in al Qaeda after 9/11 and that jurors were shown a video of the WTC collapse when Abu Ghaith was not charged in the attacks.
The trial lasted three weeks with prosecutors contending that Abu Ghaith became Bin Laden’s spokesman after the 9/11 attack at the request of the al Qaeda leader and that he knew the 9/11 attack in advance. They presented as evidence audio and videotapes indicating Abu Ghaith spread a message of hate against Americans, recruited militants to join al Qaeda and threatened the U.S. with “storm of airplanes.”
“We hope this verdict brings some small measure of comfort to the families of the victims of al Qaeda’s murderous designs,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a prepared statement, according to CNN.