NEW HAVEN - A former Navy sailor was convicted yesterday of leaking details about ship movements to suspected terrorism supporters, an act that could have endangered his crewmates.
Jurors convicted Hassan Abu-Jihaad, 32, of Phoenix, of providing material support to terrorists and disclosing classified national defense information on the second day of deliberations.
The American-born Muslim convert formerly known as Paul R. Hall faces up to 25 years in federal prison when he is sentenced in May. His lawyer, Dan LaBelle, said an appeal was possible.
"We're disappointed with the verdict, but we respect the process. It was a close case," LaBelle said.
Reached by telephone yesterday afternoon, a juror called the case difficult and said there was plenty of debate in two days of deliberations.
Abu-Jihaad, who was a signalman aboard the USS Benfold, was accused of passing along details that included the makeup of his Navy battle group, its planned movements, and a drawing of the group's formation when it was to pass through the dangerous Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf on April 29, 2001.
Abu-Jihaad's lawyer said a four-year investigation did not turn up proof that Abu-Jihaad leaked details of ship movements and their vulnerability to attack.
Federal prosecutors said he sympathized with the enemy and admitted disclosing military intelligence. But they acknowledged they did not have direct proof that he leaked the ship details.