Nov 17 2010
The Muslim-in-Chief’s first trial of a Gitmo detainee in civilian court, presided over by Clinton-appointee, Red Diaper Doper Baby Liberal judge, Louis Kaplan, is a dream-come-true for Obama – NOT GUILTY on 224 counts of terrorism, GUILTY on one minor charge.
The judge in this case would not allow the key witness to testify, citing “harsh interogation techniques.” Because of this you can expect the case against 9/11 mastermind, Khalid Sheik Mohammed to be thrown out of court.
AP NEW YORK—The first Guantanamo detainee to face a civilian trial was acquitted Wednesday of all but one of the hundreds of charges he helped unleash death and destruction on two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998—an opening salvo in al-Qaida’s campaign to kill Americans.
A federal jury convicted Ahmed Ghailani of just one count of conspiracy to destroy U.S. property and acquitted him on more than 280 other counts, including one murder count for each of the 224 people killed in the embassy bombings. The anonymous jurors deliberated over seven days.
Prosecutors said Ghailani faces a minimum of 20 years and a maximum of life in prison at sentencing on Jan. 25. Ghailani, 36, rubbed his face, smiled and hugged his lawyers after the jury left the courtroom.
Prosecutors had branded Ghailani a cold-blooded terrorist.The defense portrayed him as a clueless errand boy, exploited by senior al-Qaida operatives and framed by evidence from contaminated crime scenes.
The trial at a lower Manhattan courthouse had been viewed as a possible test case for President Barack Obama administration’s aim of putting other terror detainees—including self-professed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four other terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba—on trial on U.S. soil.
Ghailani’s prosecution also demonstrated some of the constitutional challenges the government would face if that happens. On the eve of his trial last month, the judge barred the government from calling a key witness because the witness had been identified while Ghailani was being held at a secret CIA camp where harsh interrogation techniques were used.
Prosecutors had alleged Ghailani helped an al-Qaida cell buy a truck and components for explosives used in a suicide bombing in his native Tanzania on Aug. 7, 1998. The attack in Dar es Salaam and a nearly simultaneous bombing in Nairobi, Kenya, killed 12 Americans.
The day before the bombings, Ghailani boarded a one-way flight to Pakistan under an alias, prosecutors said. While on the run, he spent time in Afghanistan as a cook and bodyguard for Osama bin Laden and later as a document forger for al-Qaida, authorities said. “This is Ahmed Ghailani. This is al-Qaida. This is a terrorist. This is a killer,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Harry Chernoff said in closing arguments.
Other witnesses described how Ghailani bought gas tanks used in the truck bomb with cash supplied by the terror group, how the FBI found a blasting cap stashed in his room at a cell hideout and how he lied to family members about his escape, telling them he was going to Yemen to start a new life.
The defense never contested that Ghailani knew some of the plotters. But it claimed he was in the dark about their sinister intentions. Quijano argued the investigation in Africa was too chaotic to produce reliable evidence. He said local authorities and the FBI “trampled all over” unsecured crime scenes during searches in Tanzania.