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United States v. Abu Ghayth

Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York
17 F. Supp. 3d 289 (2014)


In June 2001, Abu Ghayth (defendant), a religious leader and teacher, traveled to Afghanistan. While there, Ghayth met with Osama bin Laden numerous times, despite knowing that bin Laden was responsible for the 1998 United States Embassy bombings and 2000 attack on the U.S.S. Cole. After agreeing to assist bin Laden as a religious scholar and orator, Ghayth gave speeches to men at al Qaeda training camps and spoke specifically of pledging allegiance to the leader of the Afghan Taliban. After leaving Afghanistan for a short time, Ghayth returned to the country on September 7, 2001. After the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks occurred four days later, Ghayth was summoned to bin Laden’s hideout. When Ghayth arrived, bin Laden claimed responsibility for the attacks and invited Ghayth to help “deliver al Qaeda’s message.” Ghayth thereafter made a video in which he justified and praised the September 11 attacks. Following the initial video, Ghayth appeared in three more videos, threatening the United States with a storm of airplanes and warning Muslims and United States opponents not to fly or live in high-rise buildings. In 2013, United States (plaintiff) authorities arrested Ghayth abroad. Ghayth was indicted on one count of conspiring to kill United States nationals based on the threats made in the videos. During the trial, Ghayth moved to take the testimony of an enemy combatant Ghayth argued would prove he did not have any foreknowledge of the attacks. The court denied the motion, and Ghayth moved to renew.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Kaplan, J.)

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