The conspiracy trial of Osama bin Laden's son-in-law in federal court in Manhattan may have to be delayed till 2014 because of the federal budget sequestration, a judge was told Monday.
Federal public defenders appointed to represent Sulaiman Abu Ghaith told U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan that because of mandatory five-week budget furloughs, their office probably won't be able to try the case this fall.
"It's extremely troublesome to contemplate the possibility of a case of this nature being delayed because of sequestration," said Kaplan, who put off a decision on a trial date. "It's stunning."
Abu Ghaith, 47, a former al-Qaida spokesman, is charged with plotting to kill Americans. Officials say he is the most senior leader of the terror group to ever go on trial in New York, but they have not accused him of involvement in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks or operational leadership of other plots.
He was arrested in late February overseas, and gave an extensive statement to authorities before being brought to court last month. His lawyers said they will be moving to suppress his statements and may seek a change of location for the trial, along with other motions.