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Witness in Mass. terror case: I admired bin Laden

November 4, 2011

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BOSTON—Lawyers for a Massachusetts man charged with trying to help al-Qaida have challenged the testimony of a friend who said the two often talked of becoming jihad fighters overseas.

Prosecutors say Tarek Mehanna traveled to Yemen to seek terrorist training. When that failed, he returned home to Sudbury, a Boston suburb, and allegedly began translating and distributing materials promoting terrorism.

On Friday, Mehanna's lawyer cross-examined Ali Aboubakr. He testified Thursday that Mehanna referred to Osama bin Laden as "my real father" and praised the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Aboubakr said he did not always hold the views expressed by Mehanna but went along with them because he wanted to "get his approval."

During cross-examination, Aboubakr acknowledged that he also admired bin Laden and had purchased books on jihad and watched jihadist videos on his own.