Convicted embassy bomber Ahmed Ghailani "saved lives" with terrorism information he disclosed to the government after his capture in 2004, his lawyers asserted in court papers on Friday.
The claim came in a memorandum filed in advance of Ghailani's scheduled sentencing before U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan federal court Tuesday.
"It is not hyperbole to suggest that his information saved countless lives, and affected the course of the future on a worldwide scale," the lawyers said in the filing, which seeks leniency based on both the harsh questioning of Ghailani after his capture, and the value of his cooperation.
The filing had no details about exactly what Ghailani revealed, but described it as "actionable" intelligence, and said it "prevented future damage to the United States and other countries."
Earlier defense filings about Ghailani's interrogation, which may contain details, have not been released because they are being scrubbed for classified information. And Friday's filing was also removed from the court's public website shortly after it was filed.
The defense memorandum also intimated that government officials have vouched for the value of Ghailani's information.
"Given the source and authority of these conclusions, of course, the Government could scarcely dispute, challenge, or contest them, because these conclusions are true and accurate," the lawyers said.
The jury also acquitted Ghailani on 284 counts related to the embassy bombing, including all charges involving murder or an intent to murder, but he still faces life in prison on the single count.
Ghailani, who after the bombing worked as an aide to Osama bin Laden, was captured in 2004 and was interrogated at secret CIA prisons and Guantanamo until 2009. He is the first former Guantanamo detainee to be tried in civilian court.
At trial, he claimed that while he had helped compile material - including a truck and oxygen tanks - for the truck bombs in the 1998 plot, he was a dupe and didn't know that it was to be used in a bombing intended to kill hundreds of people.
Prosecutors, who ruled out seeking the death penalty before the trial started, want Kaplan to impose a life sentence. They declined comment on whether Ghailani helped save lives.
They argued in earlier filings that Kaplan should ignore the jury and conclude that Ghailani was a mass murderer, revealing that he admitted under interrogation that about a week before the bombings - after his participation was complete - he learned about the plot.
A ruling from Kaplan Friday rejected Ghailani's request that he overturn the one conviction as inconsistent with the acquittals, and suggested that the judge won't be sympathetic at sentencing next week.
"If there was any injustice in the jury's verdict, the victims were the United States and those killed, injured and otherwise devastated by these barbaric acts of terror, not Ghailani," Kaplan wrote.