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Padilla Jurors See Bin Laden Interview

Posted Jun 27, 2007 11:36 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Jurors in the terrorism trial of Jose Padilla saw a 10-year-old video of an interview in which Osama bin Laden condemned the United States.

In the edited, seven-minute tape, the al-Qaida leader praised recent terrorist bombings that killed U.S. soldiers and warned that American civilians could also be targeted.

U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke warned jurors before and after the video that the defendants were not on trial for taking part in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Los Angeles Times reports. Rather, she said, the video was admitted to show the state of mind of two co-defendants, alleged to have helped recruit Padilla into a conspiracy to support terrorism.

Wiretap evidence played after the video revealed the co-defendants praising the televised message, the Miami Herald reports. But their comments did not appear to rise to the level of celebration, the term used by federal prosecutors, the newspaper said.

Trial consultant Philip Anthony of DecisionQuest told the Times he thinks the video will have a big impact on jurors. When juors are presented with such emotional footage, “more often than not that produces a sense of guilt by association," he said.

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