Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, charged in New York last month with conspiring to kill American nationals, will face trial in January next year, a United States judge has ruled.
Sulaiman Abu Ghaith had appeared with bin Laden and his then-deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri after the 9/11 attacks and spoke on behalf of Al Qaeda and in support of its mission. He had warned that 9/11 type attacks would continue.
US District Judge Lewis Kaplan ordered that the "trial shall commence on Januray 7, 2014" in a ruling on Tuesday. Ghaith pleaded not guilty last month to the charges he participated in a conspiracy to kill United States nationals. He faces a maximum term of imprisonment of life if he convicted.
A trial date for next year was set after federal public defenders said they would not be able to properly defend Ghaith due to expected federal budget cuts and mandatory furloughs.
Kaplan said it was "extremely troublesome" that the trial would be delayed due to the budget cuts. According to the superseding indictment filed against Ghaith, Laden had summoned Gaith on the evening of September 11 attacks and asked for his assistance.
Ghaith appeared with the former al-Qaeda leader and Zawahiri and spoke on behalf of the terror network, warning the US and its allies that "(a) great army is gathering against you" and called upon "the nation of Islam" to do battle against "the Jews, the Christians and the Americans".
After the September 11 terrorist attacks, Ghaith delivered a speech in which he addressed the then-US secretary of state and warned that "the storms shall not stop, especially the Airplanes Storm," and advised Muslims, children, and opponents of the United States "not to board any aircraft and not to live in high rises".
Ghaith was married to one of Bin Laden's daughters, Fatima.