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Terror trial jury to hear bin Laden’s orders

Associated Press / October 2, 2010

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NEW YORK — Jurors in the trial of a Guantanamo detainee accused of supplying explosives for the deadly bombing of two US embassies in Africa can see Osama bin Laden’s orders more than a decade ago that his followers kill Americans, a judge ruled yesterday.

US District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan made the ruling at a hearing in Manhattan for Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, the first Guantanamo detainee to face trial in a civilian court. Several hours later, he delayed a resumption of the trial and the possibility of opening statements until Wednesday. Jury selection began this week.

Ghailani is charged with conspiracy in the deadly bombings of two US embassies in Africa in 1998. Ghailani is accused of being a bomb maker and aide to bin Laden.

Prosecutors asked last week that they be allowed to show jurors bin Laden’s words, including a television interview in which he said US civilians were targets of his holy war against the West. They cite two printed statements he made to a London-based Arabic-language newspaper and two television interviews bin Laden gave to US networks.

Defense lawyers had argued that the exhibits were “overwhelmingly prejudicial’’ and that no evidence would be offered at trial to directly establish that Ghailani knew of bin Laden’s orders or of a plot to destroy US embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. In all, 224 people were killed in the Aug. 7, 1998, attacks.

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