NEW YORK - A son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, who once served as a spokesman for al Qaeda, on Tuesday failed to win the dismissal of a US indictment accusing him of conspiring to kill Americans.
The defendant, Suleiman Abu Ghaith, also failed to win the suppression of statements he made while being interrogated by FBI agents nearly nine months ago, as he was being flown to the United States from Jordan to face the US conspiracy charge.
US District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan rejected Abu Ghaith's arguments that federal prosecutors brought their case too late and violated his due process rights.
The judge found a lack of "credible evidence" that the United States could have indicted Abu Ghaith sooner and ended what the defendant called his "continual detention" in Iran from 2002 to January 2013, but instead deliberately waited to obtain a "tactical advantage."
Kaplan also rejected Abu Ghaith's contentions that he had not been read his Miranda rights, including the right to remain silent and have a lawyer present, until well after questioning began; that the FBI ignored his requests to talk with a lawyer; and that any statements he made were involuntary.
Abu Ghaith's lawyers had argued that their client had been physically and psychologically coerced into answering agents'questions "out of a combination of disorientation, fear, isolation, fatigue and sensory deprivation."
But Kaplan said Abu Ghaith was "treated humanely" during the flight, where he had been given a medical evaluation, was regularly offered food and water, and was allowed to pray, stretch, take bathroom breaks and nap. "Abu Ghayth was not overcome by fear such that his will was overborne and his ability to act voluntarily was compromised,"Kaplan wrote. "The government has offered consistent and credible testimony that Abu Ghayth was treated well and that he was competent to speak with the FBI throughout the flight. Abu Ghayth has offered scant evidence to the contrary."
Stanley Cohen and Geoffrey Stewart, the lawyers for the defendant, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.