U.S. Terrorism Cases: Beyond Jose Padilla
MADELEINE BRAND, Host:
There are several other terrorism-related cases underway around the country. And here with a brief update on them is NPR's Wade Goodwyn. Hi, Wade.
WADE GOODWYN: Hello, Madeleine.
BRAND: And I understand that one of the jurors is now saying that the jury foreman already made up his mind before the evidence was presented.
GOODWYN: Now, Lopez's regret about her vote is not what's important here legally. It's whether there is meaningful evidence that one of the jurors actually had made up his or her mind before hearing all the evidence. That's a violation of their oath, and it could be grounds for a new trial.
BRAND: And this case provoked criticism along the way during the trial itself, on the part of the prosecutors and the methods that they undertook, the targets that it chose; tell us more about that.
GOODWYN: And so the question being posed: are these people who would ever actually conceive of a terrorist plot themselves, or somebody who just might go along with some plot if somebody else thought it up and made it happen?
BRAND: Wade, let's talk about that Miami case you mentioned, the so-called Miami Seven. Remind us who they are and what they're accused of.
GOODWYN: It's a case against five U.S. citizens, one permanent resident and one Haitian national, and they're accused of plotting to blow up the Sears Tower, but even the government admits this group didn't have the wherewithal to do that.
BRAND: Okay, so how strong is the government's case?
GOODWYN: And the motives of the informants are being questioned. One was given political asylum for cooperating with the Feds. Another informant was facing federal gun charges; they were paid thousands of dollars. Florida newspaper editors and columnists have been contemptuous of this prosecution, and I'd say it's a pretty close question as to who's been getting worse PR, the Justice Department or the defendants.
BRAND: Okay, Wayde, finally, in Ohio, Christopher Paul indicted last week on charges of providing material support to terrorists. And tell us more about that case.
GOODWYN: Paul is accused of conspiring in the late 1980s and early 1990s with al-Qaida. It's alleged he joined al-Qaida, that he stayed in an al-Qaida guesthouse, and then in 1999 gave some explosives training to other possible terrorists while he was in Germany. The government has identified no specific targets as to what would have been attacked, but it said U.S. military installations overseas and U.S. embassies were possibilities. And if he's convicted, Christopher Paul faces life in prison.
BRAND: NPR's Wade Goodwyn. Thank you.
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