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Four Found Guilty in U.S. Embassies Bombings

Aired May 29, 2001 - 14:00   ET


LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: After nearly three months of testimony and 12 days of deliberation, a New York federal jury has found four men guilty of conspiring to bomb the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, guilty on all charges. The twin bombings on August 7, 1998, killed 224 people.

CNN national correspondent Bob Franken is outside the federal courthouse in lower Manhattan with the story for us -- Bob.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Lou, things are happening fairly quickly here, so we may be interrupted in our narrative. Attorney Fred Cohn who represents one of the defendants who faces the death sentence has just left the courtroom. They are on a lunch break before they go back to set up the death penalty phase of this, which is going to begin tomorrow. That is attorney Fred Cohn. We're waiting for him now. He is not, in fact, coming to the microphone. He is expected to be possibly the most aggressive in the arguments.

He represented Mohammed al-'Owhali. He is the defendant who was found guilty of actually participating in the bombing in Nairobi, Kenya on August 7 of 1998, throwing a stunt grenade at one of the security people in that downtown U.S. embassy. The result of that explosion was 213 dead, more than 4,000 wounded. Al-'Owhali, he is the client of Fred Cohn has been found guilty of all the charges of -- all defendants, as a matter of fact, found guilty of all the charges, and he faces the death penalty.

The second defendant in the Nairobi, Kenya bombing was Mohamed Odeh. He is charged not with actually participating in the bombing, does not face the death penalty, but does face life in prison because he was one of those who helped construct the bomb in Nairobi, Kenya in a hotel. He claimed that, in fact, he did provide advice on the construct of the bomb, but claimed, his defense did, that he didn't know it was going to be used the way it was. The jury rejected that argument, and he too was found guilty of all the charges.

The third -- the third defendant, Khalfan Khamis Mohamed, known as K.K. Mohamed, he is in fact, another one who has been charged with a capital crime, will be the second subject of death penalty phase of the hearing, which begins tomorrow. He is charged with actually participating, participating in the bombing, riding part of the way to the bombing in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, which resulted in 11 dead. The fourth defendant, also found guilty of all the charges that he faced was an interesting one, Wadih El-Hage. He is a naturalized American. He is, however, charged with being personal secretary for Osama bin Laden for a period of years and lying under other, hence the perjury charge, when he testified here before this grand jury. He is a naturalized American, Lebanese-born, but he lives -- has lived in Arlington, Texas. His wife and seven children are down there today. His wife and oldest son were here for much of the court proceeding.

In any case, the findings were guilty of all the charges, 576 different charges and a 302 count indictment, which in fact, named 22 in the indictment, the most prominent of whom was Osama bin Laden, he is the man who is considered public enemy number one in many circles among Americans who fight terrorism. He is somebody who is living now in Afghanistan. He is person who is said to have organized this conspiracy, which resulted in the bombings.

The bombings, August 7, 1998, 10:30 in the morning, Nairobi, Kenya, a massive explosion wrecked the embassy in downtown Nairobi. It was an embassy that was particularly vulnerable, as the post-mortem reports pointed out, particularly vulnerable to attack because it was located downtown, and the results were devastating: 213 killed, 12 of them Americans, more than 4,000 wounded. The devastation was horrifying.

Ten minutes later, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, a second explosion. This one, not as bad, although 11 were killed and others received what amounted to minor injuries. The difference was, that particular facility was located on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam.

Immediately, an international investigation took place. The FBI, the CIA, other international organizations, put on quite a massive investigation. It resulted almost immediately in the arrest of Mohamed Odeh. He had already left Nairobi, as a matter of fact, was flying to Pakistan when he was apprehended, and investigators say that they found on his clothing residue of TNT, and they also found other evidence which they say was quite conclusive and the jury agreed.

Now, let's go to the news conference which is being held right in back.

EDWARD WILFORD, ATTORNEY FOR ODEH: I feel the verdict that was reached was not the appropriate verdict. We'll be appealing. And we thank the jury for their consideration. We respect their verdict, but we respectfully disagree with them.


ANTHONY RICCO, ATTORNEY FOR ODEH: Well, this case had a powerful emotional component to it. And I was concerned that we would be able -- not be able to overcome that. There is no question in my mind that we were not able to overcome that. I think that there are really close issues of reasonable doubt in this case.

And in a case of this nature, the emotion involved in this case, very rare does it work out to the benefit of the defendant. But we do plan to appeal, and we will move on.

QUESTION: Appeal on what grounds?

QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) client's reaction to the verdict?

RICCO: I'm sorry?

QUESTION: Can you say what your client's reaction is to the verdict?

RICCO: Well, I've always taken the position that Mohamed is a soldier, and he took it like a soldier. He took it with pride and dignity. We will be meeting with him to discuss various issues for his appeal. But he took it calmly, he took it as one would expect the person of his background and his training.

QUESTION: What the appeal is going to be based on?

RICCO: That's something that you will have to find out a few months from now.

WILFORD: You will have to read the briefs for that.

QUESTION: Can you give us you name, say it and spell it, so can write about it?

RICCO: He's Ed Wilford, and I'm Anthony Ricco.


WILFORD: Edward Wilford, w-i-l-f-o-r-d. And Anthony Ricco, r-i- c-c-o.

QUESTION: And your client?

QUESTION: When does the penalty phase begins for your client?

WILFORD: Our client doesn't face a penalty phase.

QUESTION: Do you know about sentencing...

RICCO: The penalty phase will start tomorrow morning for the defendant al-'Owhali.

QUESTION: Is there a sentencing date? What happens next?

WILFORD: There is no sentencing date. What happens next is that we have 60 days to make a motion to overturn the jury's verdict, and then, after that's decided, the judge will set a date for sentencing.

QUESTION: Did the judge separate the penalty phase (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?


(CROSSTALK) RICCO: For both defendants, it's a bifurcated proceeding. One will start tomorrow morning.

QUESTION: Starting tomorrow, the death penalty phase?


RICCO: Yes, for the defendant al-'Owhali only.


RICCO: He wasn't facing the death penalty. Was not facing the death penalty.

QUESTION: Can you explain whether or not you have any confidence that you can avoid your client spending the rest of his life in prison?

RICCO: Well, I know that we have confidence that we are going to be making every effort to see that it doesn't happen, but the penalty for these charges is life. So, the likelihood of that not happening doesn't seem to be.

WILFORD: Unless we're successful on appeal.

QUESTION: What did you argue all along? What do you want people to understand about what you argued all along?

RICCO: Well, we've taken the position from the start that Mohamed Odeh was a soldier, and that he didn't participate in the bombing where innocent people lost their lives, and we still maintain that position. We think that the evidence that connects him to the commission of this crime is very thin. He was convicted under a theory of aiding and abetting.

QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) bomb residue on his clothing that he was carrying the day he was arrested, and the sketches (UNINTELLIGIBLE) which appear to resemble the embassy (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

RICCO: Well, obviously they thought that the nanogram of TNT on his pants, which is what we're talking about, and the sketches -- that there was no evidence as to whether or not he drew them or wrote them or wrote anything in that book, the jury found that that was sufficient. I mean, and that's our point. And we plan to press those issues further.

QUESTION: Gentlemen, just to be clear, you're representing -- who are you representing?

WILFORD: Mohamed Odeh.

QUESTION: Both of you?



QUESTION: Mr. Ricco, can you say was it just too much evidence that government presented against your client?

WILFORD: Well, it wasn't a matter of too much evidence. It was a matter, as Mr. Rico said from the beginning, an emotional thing that we couldn't overcome. It was this emotional hype that we couldn't overcome. As you noticed in my summation, I asked the jury to be courageous, and by being courageous, I meant for them to take a position where they would be able to overcome the magnitude of the number of deaths and injuries involved in this case.

QUESTION: Are you saying that emotion, as opposed to evidence, played a part in convicting your client?


RICCO: Listen, let's say this. A lot of the victims are here. They are very relieved. I think that they really want to speak to you. At this point, we don't want to prejudice the penalty phase. The only thing that we can say at this point is that we are going to appeal the decision.

There are many of the victims here who were hurt by this. Their emotions were affected by that. They want to speak. I think the time would be better spent speaking with them. OK. Thank you.

FRANKEN: The attorneys for Mohamed Odeh, who was charged with helping prepare the bomb, considered an expert on bomb preparation, the disciple, according to the prosecution, was successful of Osama bin Laden.

Now, we are hearing from members of the families of the victims, Sue Bartley and Edith Bartley who lost a husband and a son in the Kenya bombing.




QUESTION: Claire, could you spell your last name?

ALIGANDA: A-l-i-g-a-n-d-a.

QUESTION: Is Claire, c-l-a-i-r-e?


QUESTION: Mrs. Bartley, when your husband's name was read, I thought I saw tears swell up in your eyes. What was that 75 minutes like for you, hearing the verdicts read in the courtroom?

S. BARTLEY: It was bittersweet. We are very happy with the verdict. We couldn't have asked for a more attentive jury. And we're just waiting for the next phase.

QUESTION: Edith, what about you? With your father and your mother killed in the Kenya bombing, what was going through your mind?

EDITH BARTLEY, DAUGHTER AND SISTER OF BOMBING VICTIMS: We're -- I'm also very pleased with the verdict. Today is one of bitter sweetness. While the law was definitely on our side today, we know the verdicts do not minimize the loss or the grief that our family or other families, both Kenyan, Tanzanians and Americans suffer even to this day. And we hope the law will continue to be on our side.

QUESTION: What is it you're still looking for? I know there's a civil suit in the works, what are you hoping for?

E. BARTLEY: We are hoping that our State Department and our Congress will pay closer attention and place the security and well- being of our Americans who are representing the United States worldwide at the top of their list and not play Russian roulette with American's lives.


ALIGANDA: I'm happy for the verdict that came through. I guess you can say I'm -- it doesn't erase the pain. The jury did an excellent job, and I just hope that this will give a message to the terrorists that we won't take this lightly as Americans, that there will be justice for the families when they attack us, that we're just not going to sit back and not do nothing about it, that we will take it to court and that we will see that justice is served.

The loss of a loved one is -- there are no words that can explain the pain and the emotions that you go through day after day. And even though this is a victory, that we got this guilty verdict all around, hands down, it does not do anything for the pain that you carry in your heart for losing someone you love.

FRANKEN: To our families of the victims of the bombings that were killed in the bombing in Nairobi, Kenya, on August 7, 1998, (UNINTELLIGIBLE). All four of the defendants have been found guilty of all the charges, 576 separate charges in a 302-count indictment. Two of the defendants face the death penalty, with hearings starting for one of them, Mohammed al-'Owhali, tomorrow.

Now joining us is the attorney for one of the defendants who does not face the death penalty, but is convicted of participating in a conspiracy, and according to the indictment, he was guilty of actually helping to construct the bomb. The two attorneys, Anthony Ricco and Ed Wilford.

Your client does not face the death penalty, but as I understand from the news conference, you do intend to appeal. On what grounds?

WILFORD: Well, the grounds for the appeals will be evident in the brief. We're not at liberty to discuss them at this time.

FRANKEN: Well, let me just... RICCO: We'll deal with issues dealing with the sufficiency of the evidence to support the verdict.

FRANKEN: Well, let me just review with you, if I can, what's on the public record. And that is, is that while your client admitted that he was in the presence of people ultimately who have been identified as those who prepared the bomb, he says that -- you say he was not able to prove, the government was not able to prove, that he had knowledge of what he was doing, therefore was not really part of the conspiracy.

Is that going to be what you talk about when you talk about the sufficiency of the evidence?

WILFORD: Oh, that's a part of it, but it's not that -- it's not necessarily the knowledge alone -- it's the proof that the government answered in terms of the sufficiency in terms of all of the evidence that they entered against Mr. Odeh.

FRANKEN: Well, let's talk about some of the proof. Some of the proof included the residue of TNT that was found in his clothing when his travel bag was confiscated when he was arrested. The jury obviously believed that was a convincing case. Do you feel that that was a case that will -- that was evidence that would stand up to appeal?

RICCO: It's evidence that normally would stand up to appeal. I think what we intend to -- we will be intending to do is to show the very small amounts, a nanogram of TNT. A nanogram is something that is not even visible to the eye. We're not talking about a stain. And so, what we're going to be doing is looking at that evidence and the other evidence to try to show to the court of appeals that this is just not sufficient to support a verdict of this magnitude.

FRANKEN: Well, the prosecution would make the claim that a nanogram, as you say, of TNT is certainly more than a person who has not been working with TNT would have in his clothing. Is that right?

RICCO: No question. I think, you know, we have an uphill battle with the appeal, like a lawyer does in any case. And we'll be looking at that evidence very closely and working very hard toward trying to convince the court of appeals of something that we weren't able to convince a jury of, which is, of course, as you know, a very difficult thing to do.

FRANKEN: Well, you made the -- you made the point out here that your uphill battle involved the fact that this is a highly emotional case, that, in fact, the jury was swayed by that. The other side would argue that, in fact, this is a case that had massive amounts of evidence against all four defendants.

WILFORD: Well, I wouldn't say "swayed". I think that when you look at the evidence that was introduced, we said that the emotional nature of this case was a starting point. It was very difficult for the jury to overcome -- not that they were swayed by it -- but it was a difficult thing for them to overcome. And we want to be clear on this, that our hearts go out to the people who were victims in this particular case, but we do not believe that Mohamed Odeh was guilty of the crimes he was charged with.

FRANKEN: Now one of the -- one of the claims against Odeh is that he was actually an admitted member of the Osama bin Laden's organization, and therefore was part of the conspiracy. What's your answer to that?

RICCO: Well, that makes it so. I mean, you know, he's always said that he was a member of Al Queda. And I think it's very difficult for us here to make a distinction between, "Hey, I'm a member of Al Queda but I didn't participate in the bombing." I mean, because we don't really have that type of organization here in this country.

So it's a difficult decision to make. The jury was out for 13 days, so obviously there was a great difficulty with it. We respectfully disagree with the jury's conclusion, but at the same time, of course, we respect their opinion. We asked them for their opinion, and they rendered their -- an opinion.

FRANKEN: Anthony Ricco and Edward Wilford, the attorneys who said that they had an uphill battle as they fought this case before the jury and an uphill battle, you're saying, as they try and get it overturned in an appeal -- Lou.

WATERS: All right, Bob Franken at a federal court in lower Manhattan, as we continue to follow this story today -- Natalie.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: We want to talk with our legal analyst, Roger Cossack, who's in Washington -- a much quieter place we hope. Hi there, Roger.


ALLEN: Kind of crazy outside that courthouse in New York today. We just heard from these two attorneys who represented Mr. Odeh who said the evidence was thin, their client didn't participate. What was the prosecution's case against these men? What was their strongest evidence?

COSSACK: Well, particularly against this gentleman, they found -- they were able to prove that he was a member of that organization -- Osama bin Laden's organization. They also found a small amount -- admittedly a small amount of the explosive that was used to make the bomb and set up the bomb.

And his defense was, "Well, you know, I may have been involved in doing these things, but I didn't know what they were going to do with it." And that is a -- it's a hard defense to believe, and I'm sure that when they say the emotional difficulties that they had to face in this case were overwhelming, I think they're probably right. This is a terrible case. There was a terrible loss of life in this case, and juries of course are going to take this case -- this kind of activity very seriously. But look, they were out -- the jury was out for a long period of time, and they concluded that they had enough evidence to convict this man. On appeal, they have a very hard way to go, because the appellate courts are very loathsome to overturn jury verdicts unless there is some outstanding -- or some mistake of law, or what these people are saying is that there's just not enough evidence to support the verdict.

That's a very difficult argument to make. Appellate courts say, "Look, the jury's heard it. The jury's decided it. They're the ones that we allow to decide the facts. We don't want to overturn those kinds of decisions." And I think you heard both of those lawyers saying that at the time, they said, "Look, we've got an uphill battle."

ALLEN: And two of these defendants now who have been convicted, could face the death penalty. What's the likelihood that they'll be given the death penalty?

COSSACK: Well, you know, we don't know what a jury's going to do. I mean, this is -- as we've indicated, I mean, a terrible case, terrible loss of life. And you can imagine that a jury -- if you're ever going to feel emotionally like giving the death penalty, this is the case that they would feel. It's much like with Timothy McVeigh. You know, when you have that kind of horror and that kind of carnage, it's very difficult to not want to fight back.

Now, there are those who argue that in terms of viewing this from an international terrorism point of view, that it's probably not in the best interest of the United States to execute these people, because what it does is it only gives greater resolve to others who are like-minded to take up places where they have left off.

There are those who argue that these are relatively low-level functionaries, and that a punishment of life without possibility of parole would be the best thing that could happen not only for justice, but for the -- in terms of making better -- perhaps better progress for doing away with terrorism.

But a jury's not going to be asked that question. The jury's simply going to be asked, "Do these people deserve the death penalty?" And that's the question they're going to answer.

ALLEN: And that hearing begins tomorrow. And...


ALLEN: ... as far as this jury goes, you say 12 days was a long time, but look at what they had to go over: 302 counts, 576 charges, plus we've been talking about this emotional impact, as some of the jurors were quite hesitant and shocked when they realized what pictures they would have to view from this horrible -- these two horrible incidents.


ALLEN: This was quite a job for this jury to do and to accomplish here.

COSSACK: It's a very difficult job. And perhaps when I say that the jury was out a long time, I mean that 12 days is a long time. But I wouldn't have been surprised if they would have been out 24 days.

As you indicate, Natalie, there was a tremendous amount of decisions that they had to decide, a great deal of evidence. This is an emotional case, to say the least. They know they're being asked to make some very serious decisions. And in this case, they were able to do it in 12 days.

But like I'm saying, if it would -- if you would have made me say when is this decision coming in, I probably would have thought it would be another week or two.

ALLEN: All right. Well, Roger Cossack in Washington.

Again, it's not over. There's 22 people named in the indictment. So there are still people that the United States would like to put on trial for these bombings that took place in 1998 and killed 226 people.

And now, back over to Lou.

WATERS: Joining us now on the line from Guatemala City is Prudence Bushnell. She's the U.S. ambassador to Guatemala. At the time of the bombings in Kenya, she was the U.S. ambassador there.

Ambassador Bushnell, you may have heard the jury -- the reports how the jury was shocked when they saw the pictures of this. And because of the horrendous nature, there's a debate going over now upon the death penalty, whether or not it should be employed to further deter terrorism internationally.

You were there. Perhaps you can give us an idea what it was like that day.

PRUDENCE BUSHNELL, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO KENYA: I think that as we -- any of us who were there look back in retrospect, we are astounded at the magnitude of what happened. To think that a single human being could have been involved in something of that dimension still horrifies me.

I was, as some people may know, not in the embassy. I was meeting with the minister of commerce, whose office was in the building on the other side of our rear parking lot. The bomb exploded in the rear parking lot, and deeply affected all of the offices in the building in which I was, including the minister of commerce's office.

WATERS: I recall...

BUSHNELL: But at the time, I had no idea that the bomb was directed at the embassy. I was thinking that it had been directed at the building, and that all I needed to do was to get out of the building and back to my embassy, and I would be safe. And it was only when my American colleagues and I came through the door of the commerce building and looked at the rear of our embassy that we saw there was no safe place that day.

WATERS: And when you finally realized what had happened, were you less concerned for your personal safety than for the magnitude of the crime you were witnessing?

BUSHNELL: This was absolutely no time to think about personal safety. And in fact, I was quickly taken away to a hotel, where we found the doctors we were hoping to find. And I had the radio -- our internal radio net -- and could hear the cacophony of sounds coming from the people at the embassy who were trying desperately to save their colleagues.

My injuries were not that severe. And it was clear that I had one thing to do, and that was to get back. And that is what I did, was to go and work through the operation center to get Washington and try and get supplies into Kenya.

If you can imagine that over 5,000 people had been injured in that one second, most of them from the upper chest and face area -- there was an enormous amount of blood flowing from people's bodies. Most of those people were ambulatory, and the hospitals were faced with waves and waves and waves of bleeding, walking, wounded, scared, traumatized human souls of all ages. And it was no time to think about how bad I felt.

WATERS: We recall seeing the pictures of you when you had returned. Did you ever imagine upon becoming United States ambassador to Kenya that what you were going through that day might become part of your job?

BUSHNELL: Never. I don't think a human being can imagine something of that -- of that magnitude.

And certainly, although all U.S. ambassadors are very, very aware of the threat of terrorism, all U.S. ambassadors want their embassies to be safe places. Too many U.S. ambassadors recognize that our embassies are not safe places. So we all spend an enormous amount of time on security.

But I think looking -- thinking of terrorism as a concept and living it as a reality are two different things entirely.

WATERS: Prudence Bushnell, U.S. ambassador to Guatemala, we thank you for your recollections, your time today, as we cover this conviction of four men accused of those bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

They were convicted on all counts today in New York. And that's the story we're following -- Natalie.

ALLEN: Now we'll talk with two men who know much about the group that these defendants are associated with, that group belonging to Osama bin Laden, who is now in Afghanistan, and is still on the run. The United States would very much like to bring him in as well.

Let's bring in Peter Bergen. He's a journalist and author. And he has even interviewed Osama bin Laden. With us as well, Lou Schiliro, who's the former assistant director for the FBI in New York, who oversaw the investigation.

And let's start with you, sir. Remind us how these men were arrested, investigator, and was it difficult tracing these bombings back to these men and Osama bin Laden?

LEWIS SCHILIRO, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Well, I think certainly this case demonstrates that this was a tremendous investigation. We received a great deal of cooperation from the Tanzanian and Kenyan authorities.

The U.S. government agencies, including the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney's Office, I think devoted a tremendous effort to ensuring that justice was done. And I think the verdicts today evidenced that fact.

ALLEN: How many more people do you think were involved in this that you would like to see brought to justice, Lewis?

SCHILIRO: I think certainly the indictment names 22. It is our belief that those certainly are people that we would like to see brought back and tried. And there certainly may be others that we're still looking at.

ALLEN: Do you think the outcome, sir, of this case today further diminishes Osama bin Laden, his efforts, or perhaps increases his efforts?

SCHILIRO: I think the case today demonstrates clearly the resolve of the U.S. government to go wherever it takes to bring back those that would do such a cowardly act.

I think it's imperative that the American public understand the effort and the sacrifice that the government and the agents and the prosecutors made to bring a case like this. And I think it speaks to the resolve of the U.S. to ensure the safety and the integrity of its justice process.

ALLEN: Why hasn't the U.S. government been able to pin down Osama bin Laden and bring him in?

SCHILIRO: Well certainly, bin Laden has a great deal of resources available to him. He's in an area that is very, very difficult to gather intelligence on.

But this case is far from over. The ability to capture bin Laden is an ongoing process. And I think time is on our side. The government -- certainly the FBI -- will not rest until bin Laden is brought to justice.

ALLEN: Well, let's talk to Peter Bergen about that as well. Mr. Bergen, what kind of network does Osama bin Laden operate in? How is he protected? And where did you speak with him?

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM EXPERT: Well, I spoke to him in eastern Afghanistan in 1997, did the first television interview with him for CNN. And during that interview, it was clear that he was surrounded by a group of perhaps 30 men, heavily armed. There was three concentric rings of security to go and meet him, people carrying rocket-propelled grenades and submachine guns.

So, the security around him is pretty intense. If the United States concluded that a military snatch operation was the only way to get a hold of bin Laden, it would clearly be a very messy operation in which there would be several casualties or many casualties, because the people who surround him are both highly trained, well armed and also highly motivated.

Going to the question about his network around the world, the indictment against bin Laden cited 20 countries where his Al Queda organization works. And I think that a point we should keep in mind is that, sure, the trial in New York has convicted four men in the embassy bombings and has impacted his organization, perhaps, in some way. But the organization, apparently, was able to attack a U.S. warship in Yemen in October 12 of last year, killing 17 American soldiers, damaging a warship, causing a $250,000 worth of damage on the USS Cole.

So his organization, while, indeed, I think the U.S. government has been able to impact some of its operations, its organization appears to be able to continue to attack American targets and will likely do so in the future.

ALLEN: And why has he said that the U.S. -- that he's targeting the U.S.? You mentioned last hour, he wants the U.S. military out of Saudi Arabia. Does it go beyond that?

BERGEN: I think that's the principle reason. But also, he has an objection to the U.S. support for Israel. He also has an objection to the United States policies on Iraq. So, it's more than just getting American troops out of Saudi Arabia.

ALLEN: Do you think, Mr. Bergen, that the United States will get to him, one of these days? We heard out guest from the FBI talk about the difficulty of that.

BERGEN: I think it's difficult to predict the future, as you know. In the Pan Am 103 case, you know, the United States was able, eventually, to bring Libyans to the courts in the Netherlands. Nothing's impossible, but I'm not holding my breath personally right now.

ALLEN: Peter Bergen, Lew Schiliro, we thank you. Thanks for joining us.

WATERS: We will continue our reporting on this breaking news story. It's a little more than two hours old now, the conviction of four men in connection with Kenyan-Tanzania terrorist bombing. We'll take a break, "CNN LIVE TODAY" will continue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PHIL REEKER, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: Hundreds of Americans, as well as Kenyans and Tanzanians, died in these heinous attacks and some 5,000 people were injured.

So we also know that the families of the victims have suffered tremendously. Many of these were colleagues of ours, here in the Department of State, and we will not forget the sacrifice they and their loved ones made. We certainly hope guilty verdicts will bring some measure of peace to the families of the victims, and we remain committed to seeing justice done.



WATERS: The story of the day is the embassy bombings trial, which has been going on in New York. That trial now is over, with the convictions of four men and CNN's Bob Franken is closely following all this. If you're just joining us for the afternoon, Bob will bring us to speed -- Bob.

FRANKEN: Well, first of all, Lou, 576 separate charges, a 302- count indictment -- it took a full 75 minutes -- an hour and 15 minutes -- for the jury to go through each and every one of the counts. They were all guilty verdicts, guilty as charged, in that 302-count indictment.

The four defendants included Mohamed al-'Owhali. He is facing the death penalty, as a matter of fact. His death penalty phase will begin tomorrow. He is charged with actually participating in the bombing in Nairobi, Kenya, which left 213 dead, including 12 Americans and thousands -- more than 4,000 people injured. The embassy in Nairobi was in downtown Nairobi. He was found guilty of participating in conspiracy, guilty of the bombing and guilty of the murder of the bombing victims. That is the charge that includes the death penalty.

Secondly, also involved, the jury found, in the Nairobi bombing was Mohamed Odeh. Mohamed Odeh does not face the death penalty. He faces life in prison, charged with terrorist conspiracy, charged with being involved in the bombing itself and the murder of the bombing victims, but not as a direct participant, an important legal distinction.

He is charged with being an expert on bombs, a self-described member of the Osama bin Laden organization -- more about that in a moment -- who actually was charged and found guilty of helping to prepare the bomb that was used in the bombing. His lawyers argued that yes, he did, in fact, meet with the people who were preparing the bomb, but he did not know it was going to be used for that. The jury rejected that argument and found him guilty.

The third client -- the third guilty verdict, this one also faces the death penalty, is Khalfan Khamis Mohamed. He is known as K.K. Mohamed. He is found guilty of being a participant -- a direct participant -- in the bombing that occurred in Tanzania, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 10 minutes after the bombing in Nairobi, Kenya, at the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam.

Eleven died there. The difference was that that particular embassy is located on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam, so the carnage was much less. Nevertheless, he has been found guilty of murder. He faces the death penalty. In addition, he was found guilty of participating in the conspiracy and guilty of actually bombing the embassy.

Now, these charges sound like they're all redundant, but they're not. They all have a specific part in this mosaic that made up this very elaborate, very detailed indictment.

The fourth defendant has been found guilty of participating in the conspiracy. He is Wadih el-Hage, a very interesting story. He is a naturalized American. He and his family, wife and seven children, lived in Arlington, Texas. In fact, the family is down there today.

He is Lebanese-born, was charged with being for a while the personal secretary of bin Laden, also charged with lying about his participation and his relationship with bin Laden before the grand jury that convened here. So he was found guilty both of participating in the conspiracy and of perjury. He faces the death -- faces life in prison also.

Now, let us go back to August 7, 1998, when these horrible events occurred. First, 10:30 in the morning, Nairobi, Kenya, a bomb went off. A blast went off at the embassy, downtown Nairobi. It was just horrible carnage; 213 were killed, 12 of them Americans. Also, thousands wounded. More than 4,000 wounded because this occurred in the busy part of the downtown of Nairobi, Kenya, something that, in fact, the prosecutors argued was well known to those who were planning this. They had been planning it, said the prosecution, in the Hilltop Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya.

Ten minutes later, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 10 minutes later, a second bomb explosion. This one of much less consequence, although 11 died and several others received injuries, most of them fairly minor. The prosecution argued that this was all part of a conspiracy that focused on Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden is somebody whose name is well known for most people of the United States. When Peter Bergen worked for CNN, he interviewed him.

Bin Laden is somebody who heads an organization that is dedicated -- according to his own fatwahs -- religious opinions -- to the death of people who are citizens of the United States. It's an organization, according to the indictment, that goes far back. In 1991, bin Laden became incensed at the United States for sending its troops into Saudi Arabia, considered blasphemy by bin Laden, considered blasphemy for going into the country of Mecca.

In any case, the jury has acted. Four of the defendants have now been found guilty. The death penalty phase begins tomorrow -- Natalie.

WATERS: Bob, it's Lou. An anonymous jury in the matter. What does that mean, exactly? FRANKEN: Well, it was an interesting -- it was an interesting structure here. The jury was not sequestered. And the reason the judge could be confident about that is that the jurors were never identified. They were moved in and out of the courtroom in great secrecy, under great protection, so they were able to work at a pace where they went home every evening. In fact, they took a four-day weekend.

They were not sequestered. We do know that there were at the end of it, seven women and five men. It was a racially diverse jury, one that represented just about every age group. As a matter of fact, defense attorney said it should have been a defendants' jury, but the results of this case would certainly not bear that out.

WATERS: And in the two days of instructions to that jury, was the death penalty ever included in any way in those instructions?

FRANKEN: Well, it would be included in potential penalties, but we really get to that starting tomorrow. Two of the defendants have been found guilty of the crimes that carry with them the death penalty. One of them is Mohammed al-'Owhali, his hearing begins tomorrow. It's called the death penalty phase.

We have been talking to some of the lawyers who were involved in the defense, and some of their arguments are going to be quite exotic, remembering, as some lawyers told us earlier, this is an emotion case with a tremendous death toll, 224 total who were killed in this.

But the attorneys say that they are going to present arguments that, in this particular case, given the ranking of these defendants and a variety of other reasons, the death penalty would be cruel and inhuman, not appropriate punishment.

One of the attorneys was even interested in going back and getting the now-famous audio tapes of a warden describing the application of the death penalty in Georgia and considering the possibility that he might want to play this to the jury as an example of how horrible the death penalty is, and how horrible it would be to apply it, even in a crime of this magnitude. He takes the position that even 224 killed in the way that they were does not warrant the death penalty. It's going to be, as one attorney said earlier, an uphill battle.

WATERS: Bob Franken at the federal courthouse for the Southern District of New York in lower Manhattan.

There are a couple of other elements of this case. We are going to fill in the blanks at 3:30 Eastern time, when the FBI and the U.S. attorney will make comments regarding the convictions today of these four men.



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