A defense lawyer who once represented terror mastermind Ramzi Youssef has been retained to defend Anas al Liby, the accused al-Qaida operative snatched by special forces from outside his home in Libya this month.
Charles Kleinman, who is also representing a Guantánamo Bay detainee, said at a hearing in federal court in Manhattan that he will defend al Liby on conspiracy charges stemming from the 1998 bombing of American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.
Youssef, one of the planners of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the nephew of 9/11 plotter Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, is currently being held at a maximum-security prison in Colorado.
Prosecutors cautioned U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan that Kleinman's fees are being paid by a third party, and said they might object if they determine that the fee arrangements create a conflict. Kleinman declined to tell reporters who is paying his fee.
Al Liby, 49, was seized by U.S. troops in Tripoli on Oct. 5, and interrogated on a Navy ship before being presented in federal court in Manhattan on Oct. 15. A public defender was named to represent him and he pleaded not guilty.
Officials have indicated that al Liby was first questioned by intelligence officials, then given Miranda warnings and questioned by the FBI. Prosecutors said in court Tuesday that he made an inculpatory statement after getting his Miranda warnings.
Al Liby, who says his real name is Nazih al Ruqai, suffers from hepatitis C. Kleinman says his physical condition has improved since he arrived in New York, but said he is still "shocked" at having been "kidnapped" from Libya.