A Manhattan federal judge said it was “extremely troublesome” that the terrorism trial of Osama Bin Laden’s son-in-law could be delayed by across-the-board federal budget cuts.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan made the comment during a hearing today in the case of Sulaiman Abu Ghayth, Bin Laden’s former chief spokesman. Abu Ghayth is charged with conspiring to kill Americans before and after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He pleaded not guilty last month.
Lawyers for both sides suggested trial be delayed until 2014, in part because federal public defenders said they don’t have the ability to properly defend their client in such an international case given budget cuts and mandatory furloughs under so-called sequestration.
“I will take that into account but the irony is that it’s extremely troublesome to contemplate a case of this nature being delayed because of sequestration,” Kaplan said. “Let me say that it’s stunning.”
Abu Ghayth faces as long as life in prison if convicted of the most serious charges.
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