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Padilla jury seated for terrorism support trial

[JURIST] Jury selection concluded Tuesday in the terrorism trial of Jose Padilla [JURIST news archive] and two co-defendants. Prosecutors have accused the defense of trying to exclude all white and Hispanic men from the jury, while the defense accused prosecutors of excluding any person with ties to Islam. US District Judge Marcia Cooke [official profile], however, determined that neither side was basing their objections to potential jurors on racial or ethnic biases. Opening statements are scheduled to begin on Monday.

Jury selection began over three weeks ago, shortly after Cooke refused to dismiss the terror charges based on Padilla's allegations that he was tortured [JURIST reports]. Padilla, a US citizen, was arrested in 2002 at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and subsequently detained as an "enemy combatant" at a Navy military brig in Charleston, South Carolina. Initially accused of planning to set off a "dirty bomb" in the United States, Padilla went from enemy combatant to criminal defendant when he was finally charged [indictment, PDF; JURIST report] in November 2005 on unrelated counts of conspiracy to murder US nationals and supporting terrorist activity. He was transferred to civilian custody [JURIST report] in January 2006 and has pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to the charges. In February, Padilla was ruled competent to stand trial [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.

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