One 2002 al-Qaida propaganda video — titled ‘Convoy of Martyrs’ — features Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law preaching over scenes of a plane flying into one of the World Trade Center towers on September 11. Another shows the son-in-law looking at bin Laden admiringly as the al-Qaida leader boasts that he knew the attack would make both towers fall.
How a jury interprets those videos could determine the outcome of a Manhattan federal trial where the son-in-low, Suleiman Abu Ghaith, is charged with conspiring to kill Americans and providing material support to al-Qaida.
As a Kuwaiti imam recruited to be al-Qaida’s chief spokesman in the months following September 11, Abu Ghaith “allowed himself to be caught on tape committing his crimes … because he never thought they’d be played in this courtroom,” assistant US attorney Michael Ferrara said Monday in a rebuttal at closing arguments.
“You are looking at a guilty man,” the prosecutor told jurors, referring to Abu Ghaith. “You can convict the defendant on those videos alone.”
The videos also demonstrated that Abu Ghaith was a more powerful speaker than bin Laden or other al-Qaida leaders who spoke on tape, said another prosecutor, John Cronan, in his closing.
“You heard them speak during this trial,” he said. “They are dull. They were monotone. That man wasn’t. He had energy. He had passion. He was dynamic. He could fire people up.”