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Amid unusually tight security, Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law goes on trial Monday in New York on charges that he conspired to kill Americans — the highest-ranking al Qaeda figure tried on U.S. soil since Sept. 11.
People attending the trial of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith will pass through a metal detector before entering the courtroom.
Prosecutors will try to prove to an anonymous jury that Abu Ghaith, as a spokesman for the terrorist network, tried to rally others to kill Americans.
Prosecutors have said that they plan to show jurors a picture of Abu Ghaith seated with bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders on Sept. 12, 2001, as they talked about the attacks.
They also plan to show the jury videos in which Abu Ghaith promised further and more devastating attacks.
“The Americans must know that the storm of airplanes will not stop, God willing, and there are thousands of young people who are as keen about death as Americans are about life,” Abu Ghaith said in a speech Oct. 9, 2001.
The defense is offering some surprises, including an assertion last week that some of the government’s evidence relates to a detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, with a similar name to Abu Ghaith, not to the defendant.
Judge Lewis A. Kaplan on Friday called the mistaken identity claim “utterly meritless.”
Abu Ghaith is married to bin Laden’s eldest daughter, Fatima. He has said that he was trying to fly from Turkey to Kuwait last year when his flight landed instead in Jordan, where he was handcuffed and turned over to the United States. He faces life in prison if convicted.