Yemeni cleric Mohammed Ali Hassan al-Moayad, 56, faces up to 75 years behind bars after a Brooklyn federal jury found him guilty of five charges stemming from a conspiracy to support al-Qaeda and Hamas. ¨Today’s convictions mark another important step in our war on terrorism,¨ U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said. (NY Post, March 11)
After five days of deliberation, the anonymous jurors found that the Sheikh and co-defendant Mohammed Mohsen Yahya Zayed conspired to funnel more than $2 million to the groups.
After the verdits were read, both men appealed to reporters present, with interpretors translating from the Arabic. "I want another lawyer to defend my case," Zayed said through the interpreter. "The jury did not fully understand my case." Both men, who are being held without bail, were ordered removed from the courtroom by Judge Sterling Johnson. (Newsday, March 10)
The trial, which sparked a local media frenzy, prominently featured evidence concerning the Sheikh discussing jihad in secretly surveilled meetings at a German hotel. The co-defendants said the tapes of the conversation were used by prosecutors selectively to unfairly convict them