Lawyers for Alleged Terrorist Ask for Trial Postponement

, New York Law Journal

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Saying they are close to finalizing a deal with the government to submit questions to top al Qaeda official Khalid Sheik Mohammed at Guantanamo Bay, defense lawyers for alleged al Qaeda conspirator Sulaiman Abu Ghayth asked Southern District Judge Lewis Kaplan Tuesday to postpone his trial for 45 days.

With jury selection scheduled for Feb. 24, the Abu Ghayth legal team, led by Stanley Cohen, told the judge in papers that Mohammed was a key witness and, given security constraints, it was impossible to submit questions to him and get responses in time to prepare for trial and mount a defense.

Abu Ghayth, a son-in-law of the late Osama bin Laden, is facing charges of conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals and providing material support and resources to terrorists, in which there is also a related conspiracy count.

In the papers filed Tuesday, Cohen stated that "Mr. Mohammed is the most qualified person alive with information whether Abu Ghayeth had any foreknowledge" about al Qaeda terrorist operations, including shoe bomb attacks, "or was part of any conspiracy" to aid terrorists.

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