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Jury Foreman Discusses Guilty Verdict for Millennium Conspirator

Aired July 13, 2001 - 11:49   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We want to go back to New York City, where Jason Carroll is standing by, with more news on that verdict that is on the man who was accused of trying to help with a bomb plot of Los Angeles International Airport -- Jason.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Again, Daryn, a jury found Mokhtar Haouari guilty on four counts of fraud -- but sort of a split division on the two counts of terrorism that Mokhtar Haouari was facing.

Joining me right now, to help sort all of this out, is the Chris Lofting. He was the jury foreman.

Once again, you found Mokhtar Haouari guilty on one count of conspiracy, for supporting a terrorist act, but not guilty on the other count. Why that decision there?

CHRIS LOFTING, JURY FOREMAN: The difference, basically, is a very technical one, legally speaking. It has to do with a thing known as conscious avoidance. Should he have known that this was a terrorist act? On count one, he should have known, given the reputation of the people he was dealing with.

On count two, on the other hand, did he actually know that there was going to be a bomb blow up, where it was, and what it targeted? The evidence simply was no there.

CARROLL: What evidence would you have needed to end up with a guilty conviction on the second count?

LOFTING: Probably evidence that he had somehow assisted Ressam in the bombing attempt. He'd Ressam assisted with phony identification, with driver's licenses...

CARROLL: The money, as well.

LOFTING: ... with a Costco card, and with some of the money. But this was mixed in with money from other sources as well. If he had come and said, Do you know somebody that's good at demolitions, we would have had it.

CARROLL: If that would have been in there.

LOFTING: But that wasn't there.

CARROLL: I'm curious, Chris, how effective was the testimony of Ahmed Ressam during this trial?

LOFTING: The defense tried to point both of these people out as total rascals who could not be believed when it was to their advantage to do so. We took some evidence, and we had to weigh why he would possibly lie and whether it was in his interest to lie, whether the lie, in fact, told us more than the truth would. I would say that we picked and choose throughout rather. We didn't take it as a whole plot, by any means.

CARROLL: Again, a reminder for our audience, Ahmed Ressam is an admitted terrorist.

LOFTING: That's right. He's admitted it. He's made a deal with the government. That's another issue.

CARROLL: Chris Lofting, once again, the jury foreman, thank you so very much for joining us here, on CNN.

A jury has found Mokhtar Haouari guilty on four counts of fraud and found him not guilty on one of the terrorist counts that he was facing. But the again, they found him guilty on the conspiracy charge -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Jason Carroll, in New York City -- Jason, thank you.

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