(Reuters) - A son-in-law of Osama bin Laden pleaded not guilty in a New York court on Friday to conspiring to kill Americans, becoming one of the highest-ranking al Qaeda figures to face trial in the United States for crimes connected to the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Suleiman Abu Ghaith, a militant who has acted in videos as an al Qaeda spokesman, made his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, only blocks from the site of the hijacked plane strikes on the World Trade Centre.
Prosecutors said they expect the Abu Ghaith trial could last three weeks. A trial date will be set at a hearing on April 8.
U.S. officials said the decision to bring Abu Ghaith to New York for trial in federal court was made at the highest levels of the administration of President Barack Obama.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Friday that the Defence, Justice and Homeland Security departments, as well as intelligence agencies, were "unanimous" in backing the decision to handle Abu Ghaith's case in the civilian court system.
The Obama administration's decision to charge Abu Ghaith in a civilian court was criticized by several prominent Republican senators, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte, who suggested the move would make it harder for the United States to collect intelligence on future plots.....snip~
In U.S. court, bin Laden relative denies plot charge | Reuters
Just coming in now.....he is pleading Not guilty. Should we be taking him to trial in a Civilian Court? The Obama Administration wanted to to do the same with the Shiek and 10 others. Immediately there was backlash. Yet they state Defense Justice and DHS are all on board with this trial in NY. 3 Weeks they expect it to go on. Coverage will be picked up around the World. Think AQ will attempt some retribution despite our people saying there hasn't been any threats over this guy?