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Ghailani’s Lawyers Detail Terror Defense Strategy

Jan 18th, 2011 Ghailani

The New York Times reports on January 17, 2011 in an article entitled "Ghailani's Lawyers Detail Terror Defense Strategy," that for the defense lawyers, the issue of what their client knew was pivotal, as they had been arguing that Mr. Ghailani — the first former Guantánamo detainee tried in a civilian court — was duped into assisting in the 1998 conspiracy to bomb two American Embassies in East Africa.

The Times reports: 

"…[T]he lawyers said they felt the verdict validated their strategy of portraying Mr. Ghailani as an unwitting pawn in the Qaeda conspiracy.

“It would be impossible, I would think, for a jury to have found ‘not guilty’ on all of those counts if they had not accepted our defense that he did not know and that he was used,” Peter E. Quijano, the lead defense counsel, said. “It’s as simple as that.”

The chief story that the Defense crafted was that Ghailani had been one of hundreds of enterprising young men who frequented Dar es Salaam’s busy marketplace area, Kariakoo, running errands and hustling for deals, hoping to earn commissions and tips. To that end, his counsel traveled to Tanzania, where they met with Mr. Ghailani’s family, interviewed potential government witnesses and visited Kariakoo, where one of the counsel said he could imagine his client as a young man — he was 24 at the time of the attacks — making purchases and doing tasks for friends without asking questions.

"After the trip, Mr. Quijano said, “His story was so much more believable to us in a way that we could portray it to a jury.”

For more on the defense strategy before and at trial, click here

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