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.
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