Prosecutors rest their case against bin Laden's son-in-law

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Prosecutors rest their case against bin Laden's son-in-law
US Senator Kelly Ayotte points to a photo of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith (L) during a press conference on Capitol Hill on March 7, 2013 in Washington, DC. Ayotte and US Senator Lindsey Graham spoke about the reported arrest of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, the son-in-law of Osama Bin Laden, who was taken into custody in the Middle East and is now allegedly being held in New York. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
FILE - This image made from video provided by by Al-Jazeera shows Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Osama bin Laden's son-in-law and spokesman. Abu Ghaith goes to trial Monday, March 3, 2014 in New York on charges that he conspired to kill Americans in his role as al-Qaida's mouthpiece after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He is the highest-ranking al-Qaida figure to stand trial on U.S. soil since the attacks. (AP Photo/Al-Jazeera, File)
Media gather outside the Federal Courthouse in Manhattan March 8, 2013 in New York. Inside the court Osama bin Laden's son-in-law and former spokesman pleaded not guilty Friday to terrorism charges in New York, where he was brought a week ago after a top secret US operation. Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, reportedly a 47-year-old Kuwaiti and allegedly a senior propagandist in the Al-Qaeda network, is accused of conspiring 'to kill nationals of the United States.' AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
US Senator Lindsey Graham speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill March 7, 2013 in Washington, DC. Graham spoke about the reported arrest of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, the son-in-law of Osama Bin Laden, who was taken into custody in the Middle East and is now allegedly being held in New York. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
In this courtroom sketch, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, center, is flanked by his legal team Monday, March 3, 2014 during jury selection at the start of his trial in New York on charges that he conspired to kill Americans and support terrorists in his role as al-Qaida's spokesman after the Sept. 11 attacks. Abu Ghaith is Osama bin Laden's son-in-law and is the highest-ranking al-Qaida figure to face trial on U.S. soil since the Sept. 11 attacks. Seated at right is defense attorney Stanley Cohen. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams)
US Senator Kelly Ayotte (C) listens while Senator Lindsey Graham speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill on March 7, 2013 in Washington, DC. The lawmakers spoke about the reported arrest of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, the son-in-law of Osama Bin Laden, who was taken into custody in the Middle East and is now allegedly being held in New York. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK (AP) - There is more than enough proof that would allow a jury to decide to convict Osama bin Laden's son-in-law and al-Qaida spokesman of conspiring to kill Americans, a judge said Friday as he turned down a defense request to dismiss the case.

"The government's evidence in (the count) of the conspiracy to murder Americans is dramatically more than merely sufficient," U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan said, adding that he also saw evidence as "more than sufficient to warrant a conviction" on other charges concerning providing material support to terrorists.

The verdict "is ultimately up to the jury, not me," he noted. "But it is sufficient to permit the jury to convict on all counts."

Prosecutors rested their case Friday in the trial of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, the highest-level al-Qaida figure to be tried in the U.S. since the Sept. 11 attacks. The defense case is due to start Monday.

Prosecutors say Abu Ghaith was part of al-Qaida's deadly plotting in his role as spokesman in fiery videos and interviews after 9/11 and as a motivational speaker at the group's training camps in Afghanistan in the summer before the attacks. Prosecutors have built their case partly on his own words, including a declaration on Sept. 12, 2001, that "the storm of airplanes will not abate."

Abu Ghaith's lawyers have said the Kuwait-born imam made inflammatory remarks but didn't conspire to carry out terrorism. He said in a statement to authorities after his arrest last year that as 9/11 approached, he knew nothing of any specific plan to attack the U.S., though he'd heard "something big was going to happen."

"The government has not met its burden (of proof), and the case should be dismissed," one of his lawyers, Zoe Dolan, said Friday in urging Kaplan to toss out the case.

Defense lawyers have sought information from professed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed, and they're likely to revisit Monday whether they can use it at the trial. They recently received answers to written questions they sent to Mohammed in a detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but they would need Kaplan's OK to introduce the information.

The defense has suggested Mohammed could help rebut the government's claim that Abu Ghaith must have known in advance of al-Qaida's so-called shoe bomb airplane plots, including Richard Reid's attempt to carry one out in December 2001.
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