World

9/11 Mastermind Defends Osama Bin Laden's Son-In-Law

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith's attorneys have long sought the testimony, saying the 9/11 mastermind would downplay their client's role in Al-Qaeda.

9/11 Mastermind Defends Osama Bin Laden's Son-In-Law
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We have to imagine a true terrorist would consider this quite the backhanded compliment. The self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks says Osama bin Laden's son-in-law was an eloquent, spellbinding spokesman for Al-Qaeda, but not nearly as important as prosecutors are making him out to be.

ANCHOR: "Late last night, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed filed a statement defending the spokesman saying he had no role in military operations for Al-Qaeda. Mohammed is being held at Guantanamo Bay for his role in the 9/11 attacks." (Via KSDK)

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith is on trial in New York, charged with conspiring to kill Americans and providing support to Al-Qaeda as a spokesman. (Via Middle East Broadcasting Center)

While Abu Ghaith isn't charged with anything related to the 9/11 attacks, prosecutors say he did have knowledge of other plots like the failed shoe-bomb plot when Richard Reid tried to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight in December 2001.

Abu Ghaith was captured last year when U.S. officials say he finally left Iran after sheltering there for years and entered Turkey. (Via ABC)

His attorneys wanted to get Mohammed's testimony into the court file in the belief Mohammed would help downplay their client's role in Al-Qaeda.

In a written statement, Mohammed said, "Those tasked with giving statements to the media do not necessarily know all the details of an operation and are sometimes even unaware of the very existence of the operation." (Via CNN)

The trial is being held in federal court, which means cameras are not allowed in the courtroom. Mohammed also denied ever seeing Abu Ghaith encourage others to swear an oath of allegiance to bin Laden. (Via WNBC)

Los Angeles Times quoted Mohammed in the court filing, “Swearing bayat does not mean that a person is placed on a list to carry out an operation; even the cook has sworn bayat.”

WNBC reports during jury selection several prospective jurors admitted they couldn't remain impartial if they were picked for a trial that's being held only walking distance from Ground Zero. How much Mohammed's testimony will help Abu Ghaith is debatable.

The New York Times spoke with a former top federal prosecutor from Manhattan.

DAVID RASKIN: “It’s hard to see how someone responsible for the murder of 2,976 innocent people could ever be an effective witness for anybody, under any circumstance.”

Prosecutors rested their case against Abu Ghaith on Friday with the defense set to start Monday.