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NewsNew York

Terror trial judge dismisses 4 jurors after elevator comment

Jury deliberations in the terrorism trial of Muhanad al Farekh had to start over on Thursday when four jurors had to be dismissed because they heard a comment made by the defendant’s father in an elevator.

Al Farekh, a U.S. citizen of Jordanian descent, is charged with being a member of al-Qaida and aiding a 2009 attack on a U.S. base in Afghanistan, where the government alleges his fingerprints were found on tape wrapping the detonator on an unexploded truck bomb.

Jury deliberations began Wednesday, but that evening al Farekh’s father, Mahmoud — who for security reasons was previously denied permission by U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan to see his son — complained on the elevator about how long it had been since they had seen each other.

Cogan removed the four jurors present for the remark and replaced them with the three alternates in the Brooklyn federal court case. He denied a defense objection to proceeding with only 11 jurors, and ordered the entire jury to begin their deliberations anew with the three new members.

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