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Embassy bombings jury asks for more exhibits


May 11, 2001
Web posted at: 7:48 p.m. EDT (2348 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A federal jury completed its first full day of deliberations Friday in the terrorism trial stemming from the August 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

The panel of seven women and five men received the case late Thursday afternoon, four months and one week after jury selection began.

The four defendants waiting to hear their fate are:

-- Mohamed Rashed Daoud al-'Owhali, 24, a Saudi, charged with executing the Kenya bombing.

-- Mohamed Sadeek Odeh, 36, a Jordanian, charged with planning the Kenya bombing.

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Shattered Diplomacy: The U.S. Embassy Bombings Trial
An in-depth special report on the trial of four men charged with the embassy bombings
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-- Khalfan Khamis Mohamed, 27, a Tanzanian, charged with executing the Tanzania bombing.

-- Wadih el Hage, 40, an American, charged with conspiracy for allegedly facilitating the East African terrorist cell.

All four are charged with participating in a conspiracy to kill Americans and to destroy U.S. property that was allegedly led by Saudi exile Osama bin Laden, a wanted fugitive in the case.

The nearly simultaneous explosions on August 7, 1998, killed 224 people -- 11 in Tanzania and 213 in Kenya, including 12 Americans -- and injured thousands.

The jury requested nine more trial exhibits from the court Friday, including sketches resembling the embassy compound in Kenya that were found after the bombings in Odeh's Kenyan home.

On Thursday the jury requested the other key physical evidence against Odeh, including what the government says is TNT-stained clothing found inside the travel bag he was carrying when he was arrested.

The jury also asked for photographs of the Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, houses where prosecutors said the bombs were constructed.

Jurors also requested the plea agreements of two key government informants, Jamal Al-Fadl and L'Houssaine Kherchtou, who defected from bin Laden's organization and now live in protective U.S. custody.

Al-Fadl and Kherchtou gave the jury a detailed history of bin Laden's activities in Afghanistan and Sudan, where el Hage worked for bin Laden companies in the early 1990s. Kherchtou said el Hage and Odeh knew each other when they both lived in Kenya in the mid-1990s.

The list of 19 items the jury asked to review Thursday included reports of the FBI agents who interrogated three defendants -- al-'Owhali, Odeh, and Mohamed -- after their arrests in Africa; grand jury testimony by el Hage in which he allegedly committed perjury multiple times; and the 1998 fatwah, or religious decree, by bin Laden calling for the killing of Americans worldwide.

The jury will be required to fill out a 61-page verdict form as it formulates its decisions for each defendant. Because many of the counts involve more than one defendant, the jury has nearly 600 decisions to make.

Jurors went home at 3:30 p.m. Friday, an hour before scheduled, at the request of one juror.

She wanted to attend a surprise birthday party which her husband had told her that her children were planning, according to Judge Leonard Sand, who shared the request in open court earlier in the week.

"It gives some reflection of the impact on which jury service impacts on people's everyday lives," Sand said.

Deliberations will resume at 10 a.m. Monday.

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U.S. State Department
 •  International Information Programs:
 •  Counterterrorism
 •  Links to United States Embassies and Consulates Worldwide
Patterns of Global Terrorism: 1999
FBI Websites Document Evidence Against Bin Laden
Ussamah Bin Laden
US District Court, Southern District of New York
Terrorism Research Center

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