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Federal judge sets January trial date for Bin Laden's son-in-law

Judge Lew Kaplan of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] announced on Tuesday that the trial of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, son-in-law of Osama Bin Laden [WP obituary; JURIST news archive], is scheduled for January 7, 2014. Kaplan said the start date would be delayed [Guardian report] because of the US budget sequester forcing lawyers to be furloughed for several weeks. Abu Ghaith has been charged with conspiring to kill Americans in his role as al Qaeda's chief propagandist. Abu Ghaith was captured [JURIST report] in Jordan on February 28 and brought to the US on March 1. He pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] on March 8. Abu Ghaith's lawyers, Martin Cohen and Philip Weinstein, have said they intend to file several pretrial motions challenging the prosecution, including requests that the trial moved from a courthouse several blocks from the World Trade Center complex and that a statement Ghaith provided to US authorities be suppressed.

Many cases involving al Qaeda operatives are making their way through the US judicial system. In January the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated the conspiracy conviction[JURIST report] of Ali Hamza Ahmad Suliman Al Bahlul, Osama bin Laden's media secretary. In October Egyptian-born Muslim cleric Abu Hamza Al Masri pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to 11 criminal charges. His charges include taking hostages, providing material support to terrorist groups, including al Qaeda, and conspiring to do such acts. He made his first appearance in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York after being extradited from the UK. Osama Bin Laden was killed [JURIST report] by US military personnel in 2011.

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