Openings in Guantanamo detainee’s trial depend on whether judge lets key gov’t witness testify

By Larry Neumeister, AP
Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fate of key witness unknown in detainee’s NY trial

NEW YORK — Opening statements at the first civilian trial for a Guantanamo Bay detainee could begin as early as Wednesday unless a New York judge blocks a key government witness from testifying.

Federal Judge Lewis Kaplan is expected to rule Wednesday on the fate of a witness who sold explosives to defendant Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani (AH’-mehd KAL’fahn guh-LAHN’-ee).

Kaplan has said he will delay the trial a few days if he excludes the witness and prosecutors appeal.

Defense attorneys say the witness should be excluded because he was discovered only after Ghailani underwent harsh questioning at a CIA-run camp overseas in 2004.

Ghailani is charged with conspiring in the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa. The attacks killed 224 people, including a dozen Americans.

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