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A day after the capture of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, the son-in-law of Osama Bin Laden, was made public, the al Qaeda spokesman appeared in a New York courtroom, pleading not guilty to a charge of conspiracy to kill Americans.
The government announced his capture yesterday, revealing that he was captured in Turkey last month. Rep. Peter King released a statement confirming that it is believed that Abu Ghaith took part in the planning of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Abu Ghaith appeared in several videos for al Qaeda following the attacks and was seen in one video with Bin Laden, who was killed in Pakistan in 2011.
According to Reuters, Abu Ghaith appeared in the largest courtroom in the Manhattan building, just blocks from Ground Zero. He wore a blue prison outfit and only spoke twice. He understood the charges and accepted court-appointed lawyers. He will be represented by Philip Weinstein and Martin Cohen, who put in the not-guilty plea for him.
During the twenty-minute arraignment, his lawyers accepted the federal prosecutors’ request that he stay in custody, reports the New York Times.
Some have criticized the decision to have Abu Ghaith tried on U.S. soil.
“No street is going to be closed because of this,” New York mayor Michael Bloomberg said on the radio, notes the Times. “Would I prefer to have it elsewheres? I’m not going to get involved in that because I don’t want to make the president’s job any more difficult.”
Abu Ghaith’s trial will start on April 8.