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United States v. Salameh

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
152 F.3d 88 (1998)


Facts

In February 1993, a bomb inside a Ryder van parked beneath New York City's World Trade Center went off, killing six persons, wounding over a thousand others, and causing hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage. The federal government (plaintiff) prosecuted Mohammed Salameh, Mahmoud Abouhalima, and other individuals (defendants). The indictment charged the group not only with the bombing, but also with 30 other overt acts that the group allegedly committed in furtherance of a conspiracy to "commit offenses against the United States." The federal district court trial evidence established that the World Trade Center was merely the first in a series of buildings that the group intended to bomb. Each defendant played a specific role within the group. For example, Salameh rented the group's storage shed and the Ryder van, and Abouhalima procured explosives for the group. Following the World Trade Center bombing, the group continued to keep explosives in their shed and continued seeking material with which to make new bombs. A draft letter recovered from one defendant’s computer spoke of future acts of terrorism. The judge denied Abouhalima's requested jury instruction that a conviction on the conspiracy count required proof that he had specifically intended to bomb the World Trade Center. The jury convicted the defendants on all counts, and the judge sentenced each defendant to 240 years' imprisonment. The defendants appealed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on several grounds. One of Abouhalima's contentions was that the judge erred in denying his requested jury instruction on the conspiracy charge.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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