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Embassy bombings jury asks for even more evidence


NEW YORK (CNN) -- A federal jury completed its third day of jury deliberations Monday in the trial of four men accused of an alleged terrorist conspiracy that included the 1998 bombings of two American embassies in East Africa.

The jury sent out one note, asking to review more evidence, all of it pertaining to one defendant.

The jury is deciding the fate of four men -- three of whom are charged with direct roles in the twin truck bombings at U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, that killed 224 people, including 12 Americans, and injured more than 4,000 people.

The bombings, allegedly masterminded by Saudi exile Osama bin Laden, occurred on August 7, 1998, the eighth anniversary of U.S. troops being ordered to Saudi Arabia to guard against Iraqi aggression after Iraq had invaded Kuwait.

One of bin Laden's publicly stated goals has been the removal of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, home to the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

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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
Trial reports | Timeline | Key Figures
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tease Images from the U.S. embassy bombing in Tanzania

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The four defendants waiting to hear the verdicts at the U.S. District Court in lower Manhattan 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.

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 an alleged conspiracy to kill Americans and to destroy U.S. property that was allegedly led by bin Laden, a wanted fugitive in the case.

If convicted, al-'Owhali and Mohamed would be subject to a second trial phase before the same jury to determine if they are to be sentenced to death. Odeh and el Hage face a maximum punishment of life in prison.

The jury received the case late last Thursday afternoon, three months after the trial's opening statements. Jurors heard testimony from nearly 100 witnesses, saw hundreds of pieces of evidence, and listened to a week's worth of closing arguments.

The four trial exhibits that jurors requested on Monday were all documents having to do with el Hage -- including records of his international telephone calls from Kenya and notebooks detailing his business dealings.

"I'm happy because they're taking a look at the big picture," said Sam Schmidt, el Hage's attorney.

During its first two days of deliberations the jurors requested two dozen trial exhibits, including:

Scale models of both destroyed embassies and photographs of the Nairobi and Dar es Salaam houses where prosecutors said the bombs were constructed.

Sketches resembling the Kenya embassy compound that were found after the bombings in Odeh's Kenyan home and clothing bearing explosive residue that was found inside the travel bag Odeh was carrying when he was arrested.

Reports of the FBI agents who interrogated three defendants -- al-'Owhali, Odeh, and Mohamed -- after their arrests in Africa. None of the defendants testified, but the agents did.

El Hage's 1997 and 1998 grand jury testimony, in which he allegedly lied multiple times about his contacts with bin Laden and his associates, and el Hage's address books.

Bin Laden's 1996 declaration of "jihah," or holy war, against U.S. troops stationed in Saudi Arabia.

Plea agreements of two protected government informants, Jamal Al-Fadl and L'Houssaine Kherchtou, who defected from bin Laden's organization gave the jury a detailed history of its activities in Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia, and Kenya.

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

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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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