Alleged Al-Qaeda Terrorist’s Lawyer Says Libya Pays Defense

Libya is paying the legal bills of accused al-Qaeda terrorist Abu Anas al-Liby, charged by the U.S. with participating in the 1998 bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, according to his lawyer.

Defense lawyer Bernard Kleinman wrote a federal judge that the government of Libya and several people he identified as having ties to that country were paying him to defend al-Liby. Kleinman, appointed to represent al-Liby last year, said he was first contacted by Libyan officials in October.

American military personnel captured al-Liby Oct. 5 outside his home in Tripoli after more than a decade as a fugitive. U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan is considering whether to remove Kleinman due to a potential conflict of interest. At a July 23 hearing, Kaplan asked Kleinman to write down the name of the entity which was paying him.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Lewin said at a hearing last October that the U.S. had concerns with who was paying Kleinman. Kleinman had said publicly that he’d been hired by an unidentified “third party.”

Kleinman has also represented Ramzi Yousef, the convicted mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombings. Yousef’s uncle is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was charged with Yousef in the jetliner plot and is awaiting trial before a U.S. military judge Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on charges he helped plan the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

A call and e-mail sent to the Libyan embassy seeking comment on the lawyer’s responses weren’t immediately returned.

The case is U.S. v. Hage, 98-cr-01023, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). For Related News and Information:

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