Wednesday, November 17, 2010

DOJ says it's "pleased" Ahmed Ghailani facing min. of 20 years in prison + potential life sentence" for role in the embassy bombings

This was the guy whom Obama and Holder lined up as their test case to prove that, yes indeed, we can convict Gitmo jihadis using good old-fashioned civilian court procedures. All was well until last month, when the district court judge barred the feds’ blockbuster witness from testifying, even though he was prepared to tell the jury that he sold Ghailani the explosives used to destroy the U.S. embassy in Tanzania in 1998. The feds had only learned of the witness’s identity during enhanced interrogation of Ghailani, and since the interrogation was deemed illegal, evidence derived from it was inadmissible. Without that testimony, the case collapsed. And now, a month later, we have a full-blown fiasco on our hands.

He was the first Gitmo detainee they sent to civilian court. And thanks to today’s verdict, now he’ll probably be the last.

The defendant, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, 36, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to destroy government buildings and property. He was acquitted of six counts of conspiracy, including conspiring to kill Americans and use weapons of mass destruction.

When the judge’s clerk asked how the jury found on counts 11 to 223, which were all counts of murder, the jury foreman replied, “Not guilty.”

Mr. Ghailani faces a sentence of 20 years to life in prison…

He helped to buy the Nissan Atlas truck that was used to carry the bomb, and gas tanks that were placed inside the truck to intensify the blast, the evidence showed. He also stored an explosive detonator in an armoire he used, and his cellphone became the “operational phone” for the plotters in the weeks leading up to the attacks, prosecutors said.