[JURIST] Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, the son-in-law of Osama bin Laden [JURIST news archives], was found guilty on Wednesday of both conspiring to kill Americans and providing terrorists with material support, following a jury trial in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website]. Abu Ghaith, who was convicted for his role as spokesman for al Qaeda, is the highest ranking [AP report] al Qaeda figure to face trial on US soil. At trial, the jury heard recordings of Abu Ghaith’s voice on propaganda videos and saw a video where he appeared next to bin Laden. Abu Ghaith also unexpectedly took the stand [NYT report] and described in detail his conversation with bin Laden hours after the 9/11 attacks. Abu Ghaith faces possible life in prison for conspiring to kill Americans and a maximum of 15 years [NYT report] for each additional count that he was convicted of.
Last week Khalid Shekih Mohammed (KSM)[JURIST news archive] gave a statement [JURIST report] in defense of Abu Ghaith, claiming that he had no involvement in al Qaeda’s military activities. Jury selection began earlier this month after the judge presiding over the trial rejected a request [JURIST report] by Abu Ghaith to delay the trial on mistaken identity grounds. In February Abu Ghaith’s lawyers were given permission [JURIST report] to submit questions to KSM in order to determine whether they would call him as a witness. Abu Ghaith’s trial was originally scheduled for September 2013 but was delayed [JURIST report] due to the US budget sequester. Following his capture [JURIST report] in March of 2013, Abu Ghaith pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to the charges against him.