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Judge orders separate trial for one embassy bombing defendant

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CNN's Kathleen Koch reports on the anniversary of the embassy bombings in Africa (Aug. 7, 1999)

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NEW YORK (CNN) -- A federal judge has replaced the defense team and ordered a separate trial for one of five defendants charged with murder and conspiracy in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Two hundred twenty four people died in those blasts.

Judge Leonard Sand ruled Thursday that Mamdouh Mahmud Salim will not join his four co-defendants in the bombing trial scheduled to begin January 3. Instead, Salim's case will be heard together with that of three other men charged in the case who are awaiting extradition to the United States. That trial is expected to be held in late 2001 or early 2002.

The judge made the ruling following an incident on November 1, when Salim allegedly stabbed a prison guard in the eye after a meeting with his attorney Paul McAllister. No new charges have been filed in that incident, but sources familiar with the case expect some charges will be filed once the FBI has completed its investigation into the assault. The prison guard is in critical, but stable condition.

Judge Sand said that McAllister could become a witness in the stabbing case, thereby influencing his role as defense counsel in the bombing case. Salim's case was then assigned to attorney Allan P. Haber.



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