NEW YORK— A federal court hearing was held in New York for alleged terrorist Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Osama Bin Laden’s son-in-law. His trial date may be pushed well into the future because of federal budget problems.
Monday’s court session was a preliminary hearing on setting a date for a terrorism trial for Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law, Sualaiman Abu Gaith. He is accused of conspiring to kill Americans in his alleged role as al-Qaida’s top propagandist after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Abu Gaith has pleaded not guilty.
In court Monday, Judge Lewis Kaplan said he finds it stunning that federal budget woes could delay the start of the trial. His comment followed word from Public Defender Phillip Weinstein that public defenders are being furloughed for more than five weeks because of budget cuts.
Abu Gaith's trial could be delayed until January.
Famed New York defense lawyer Ron Kuby, who is not part of this case, agreed that a trial delay is stunning..but nevertheless true.
“The problem with the current budget impasse is people don’t think these cuts are going to affect them, sequester is going to affect them, or what they care about and they are increasingly finding out that that is not true and this is one of many, many things that are affected by this sequester,” Kuby said.
Kuby also believes the government’s charge against Abu Gaith of conspiring to kill Americans cannot be sustained.
“There doesn’t seem to be any proof of a conspiracy to kill Americans unless they want to allege that automatically being a member of al-Qaida, you are a conspirator and the law doesn’t sustain that kind of guilt by association,” Kuby said.
Abu Ghaith was brought to the United States last month. U.S. authorities have released little information about his capture.