News

Sequester Budget Cuts Could Delay Alleged Al Qaeda Spokesman’s Terror Trial

This frame grab from the Saudi-owned television network MBC (Middle East Broadcasting Center) shows Sulaiman Abu Ghaith , the alleged spokesman of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network in an undated videotape broadcast by the Dubai-based MBC 17 April 2002. (credit: AFP/Getty Images)

This frame grab from the Saudi-owned television network MBC (Middle East Broadcasting Center) shows Sulaiman Abu Ghaith , the alleged spokesman of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network in an undated videotape broadcast by the Dubai-based MBC 17 April 2002. (credit: AFP/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – A New York judge says he finds it “stunning” that federal budget woes could delay the start of a terrorism trial for Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law.

Judge Lewis Kaplan commented Monday as he set deadlines for defense lawyers to submit pre-trial arguments on behalf of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith.

Kaplan said he’s like to set a date for the trial but said it may not be possible.

Abu Ghaith was brought to the United States last month. He’s charged with conspiring to kill Americans in his alleged role as al Qaeda’s top propagandist after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He has pleaded not guilty.

Kaplan suggested he might set a trial date as early as September. But Ghaith’s lawyer complained, saying public defenders are being furloughed for more than five weeks through October because of sequestration.

The judge called that “extremely troublesome.”

Ghaith is charged with terrorism, acting as a spokesman for al Qaeda at the time of the Sept. 11 attacks.

As WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported, Ghaith issued a warning to the U.S. the following day, saying “a great army is gathering against you. The storm shall not stop.”

He warned Muslims, children and opponents of the U.S. not to board any aircraft or live in high-rises, Cornell reported.

Abu Ghaith was arrested last month in Jordan and brought to the U.S. for arraignment.

The automatic federal budget cuts, known as the sequester, took effect last month. By Congress failing to act, $85 billion in automatic cuts began to be implemented.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)