Suleiman Abu Ghaith, the former al-Qaida spokesman convicted on terrorism charges, told a federal judge on Thursday that he still wants to be represented by defense counsel Stanley Cohen despite the lawyer's guilty pleas to tax charges.
The hearing came just after Cohen, a well-known radical lawyer, pleaded guilty in federal court in Manhattan to two counts of willfully failing to file tax returns. In April, he pleaded guilty in Syracuse federal court to obstructing the Internal Revenue Service.
Cohen faces a prison term of 18 months in the cases, which are to be consolidated for sentencing under a plea agreement, and may also face loss of his law license. If the judge feels a higher sentence is more appropriate, Cohen will be allowed to withdraw the plea.
Abu Ghaith told U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan that he still feels comfortable having Cohen appear as his lawyer at sentencing on September 8. Cohen's sentencing is scheduled for October.