The trial for al-Qaida’s former spokesman and the son-in-law to Osama bin Laden, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, began with jury selection on Monday in a New York City courtroom.
Ghaith stands accused of conspiring to kill American citizens in his role as the terrorist group’s spokesman and is the highest-ranking figure of al-Qaida to be tried in the US since 9/11.
Jurors were asked questions such as whether they knew who Ghaith was and if they were aware of the organization al-Qaida. According to the Associated Press, none of the potential jurors knew anything about this man, but every one of them knew of al-Qaida.
The defense team for Ghaith tried to get the terrorism charges against their client dropped over the weekend and claimed that they had charged the wrong man. Their bid was dismissed and the trial is expected to proceed.
Ghaith, a former imam from Kuwait, is married to bin Laden’s eldest daughter and is featured alongside the al-Qaida founder in numerous propaganda videos.
If tried and convicted, Ghaith will not face the death penalty as prosecutors believe he was not directly involved in the planning of any terrorist attacks.
The al-Qaida propagandist was captured in Jordan trying to reach the Kuwaiti border and was brought to U.S. soil one year ago.He first gained international attention for praising the 9/11 attacks and calling for more terrorist actions against the United States and its allies.
“The actions by these young men who destroyed the United States and launched the storm of planes against it have done a good deed,” Ghaith declared in a statement shortly after the attacks.