Jury Deliberates In Hamdan Case

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Note: The jury has recessed for the day and will resume deliberations Tuesday.

A jury of six military officers began deliberating the verdict Monday in the Guantanamo trial of Salim Hamdan. Hamdan, one of Osama bin Laden's drivers, is charged with conspiracy and material aid to terrorism.

The government claims he was part of bin Laden's inner circle. The defense says he was merely a low-level employee, working for a $200-a-month paycheck.

In closing statements, defense attorneys made reference to testimony that took place in a secret session of the court.

Over the two-week trial, some of the testimony has been delivered behind closed doors because of what the government said were national security concerns.

Hamdan's military defense lawyer, Lt. Cmdr. Brian Mizer, used his closing comments to give the court a glimpse of some of that testimony.

Mizer referred to information obtained during interrogations shortly after Hamdan's capture, telling the jury: "You know what Mr. Hamdan offered to do and how we squandered that opportunity."

The judge reminded him he was straying into classified territory.

The defense argued that Hamdan was just a salaried driver and was never part of a meeting of minds on any attacks — that meeting of minds being necessary for a conspiracy charge to stick.

Defense counsel Joseph McMillan said that using the prosecution's reasoning, "every butcher, baker and candlestick maker" who worked for al-Qaida would be guilty.

The prosecution argued that Hamdan's cooperation was no defense for conspiring to kill civilians — among the accusations against Hamdan.

The Justice Department's John Murphy cited attacks on two American embassies in Africa, the USS Cole at port in Yemen, and the World Trade Center. He said that in each case, Hamdan knew that terrorist attacks had occurred or would occur.

Hamdan didn't take part in planning, Murphy said, and Hamdan didn't know all the details. But Murphy insisted Hamdan knew enough to be considered part of the conspiracy.

Murphy said that without people like Hamdan, bin Laden could not have succeeded.

Hamdan faces the possibility of life in prison if convicted. Even if acquitted, he faces the prospect of continued detention because he remains classified as an unlawful combatant.



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