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Lawyers say former Gitmo prisoner should get new trial

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • A federal jury acquits Ghailani on all but one count of conspiracy-related charges
  • Ghailani is convicted of conspiracy to destroy government property
  • Trial was seen as a test case on Obama's plan to prosecute terror suspects in civilian court

New York (CNN) -- A federal judge will hear arguments Thursday from lawyers who are pushing for a new trial or exoneration for Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, the Guatanamo detainee recently convicted of one count of conspiracy to destroy government buildings.

The court hearing will be in United States District Court in New York Thursday morning, according to court documents.

Ghailani's lawyers have called for a new trial or acquittal in part because of what they call improper instructions given to the jury during the trial, according to court documents.

Ghailani was convicted in November by a federal jury on a single count of conspiracy to destroy buildings and U.S. property in connection with his role in the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

At the same time, he was acquitted of more than 280 counts of conspiracy, murder and terrorism-related charges.

The trial had been widely considered a testing ground for the Obama administration, which has said that it could try some terrorism suspects outside military tribunals and in civilian courts.

Ghailani was captured in Pakistan in 2004 and moved to Guantanamo two years later.

If the defense motion fails Thursday, Ghailani will be sentenced on January 25.