Deliberations resume in al-Qaida spokesman trial

TOM HAYS and LARRY NEUMEISTER
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FILE - In this undated image made from video and provided by by Al-Jazeera, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, is shown. Osama bin Laden's son-in-law and spokesman still maintains that there was justification for the September 11, 2001 attacks orchestrated by al-Qaida upon the United States. Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, who is being tried in a New York City courtroom for conspiring to kill Americans, is using courtroom theater, intentionally or not, to press his case that the United States is such a bully in the Middle East that even killing civilians was justified. (AP Photo/Al-Jazeera, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — The second day of jury deliberations began Wednesday in the trial of Osama bin Laden's son-in-law on charges he conspired to kill Americans in his role as al-Qaida's spokesman after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Before deliberations restarted, U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan gave jurors a nudge as they consider the fate of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, saying they may be instructed to stay late if a verdict hasn't been reached by the end of the day.

Jurors deliberated more than four hours Tuesday and left for the day after sending the judge a note that said they were "tired and mentally exhausted."

The 48-year-old Kuwaiti imam has pleaded not guilty to charges that he conspired to kill Americans and aid al-Qaida by serving as the group's spokesman in the days and months after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Although he testified in his own defense, he told jurors that he answered bin Laden's Sept. 11 request for his oratory skills and joined in a Sept. 12, 2001, video in which he sat with bin Laden and two other top al-Qaida leaders as they tried to justify the attacks of a day earlier and called for more harm to America.

Prosecutors said that and at least four other videos in which he appeared alone were enough to convict Abu Ghaith of joining bin Laden's conspiracy.

In one video, he warned that the "storm of airplanes" will not stop. Prosecutors produced evidence during the three-week trial to try to show that Abu Ghaith knew about plans for a December 2001 shoe-bomb attack against U.S. airliners.

Defense lawyers insisted Abu Ghaith was a teacher and preacher who knew nothing of al-Qaida's terror plans. Abu Ghaith has pleaded not guilty.

Abu Ghaith was captured in Jordan last year and brought to New York for trial.