‘Bin Laden’s son-in-law’ set for court despite identity questions

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A man prosecutors say is Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law and former spokesman will go on trial next week despite claims by his lawyers that the government may have charged the wrong person.

Judge Lewis Kaplan denied a request to delay the trial of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith. Jury selection is set to begin on Monday in federal court in Manhattan, New York.

Attorney Zoe Dolan had written that the defence recently learned there may be a second person with a similar name held at Guantanamo Bay.

Prosecutors told the judge yesterday that the second person went by different names and that Abu Ghaith was the right man.

Abu Ghaith is charged with conspiring to kill Americans in his alleged role as al-Qaida’s spokesman.

Meanwhile, a Californian man with delusions of joining the Taliban has been jailed for 15 years for trying to blow up a bank.

But the “car bomb” he thought would go off was actually made up of inert materials supplied by the FBI in a sting, the court in Oakland was told.

US District Judge Virginia Rogers said she was satisfied that the sentence – spelled out in a plea deal between Matthew Llaneza and federal prosecutors – struck a balance between acknowledging the 29-year-old from San Jose’s mental condition and punishing him.

Llaneza was arrested last February near a Bank of America building in Oakland after he tried to detonate a vehicle loaded with chemicals he secured with the help of an FBI agent posing as a Taliban go-between.

Both the vehicle and the inert chemicals loaded inside were supplied by FBI agents after Llaneza allegedly made contact with an undercover agent who pretended to have connections with the Taliban and helped him build a fake car bomb.

He was arrested near the four-storey bank building in Oakland.