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Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-described architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, said that a former top associate of Osama bin Laden who is on trial in Manhattan had no role in military operations for Al Qaeda and, he suggested, was enlisted to make fiery speeches because he was “an eloquent, spellbinding speaker.”
Mohammed’s assertions are contained in a newly filed 14-page statement in US District Court in Manhattan, where the former associate, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, is being tried on charges that he conspired to kill Americans and provided support to Al Qaeda.
Lawyers for Abu Ghaith have long sought to obtain testimony from Mohammed, who is detained at the US naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. They have said that Mohammed’s knowledge of Al Qaeda operations is unsurpassed and that his testimony “may very well exculpate” Abu Ghaith.