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Jurors dismissed in Brooklyn federal terrorism trial

September 28, 2017 By Paul Frangipane Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Muhanad Mahmoud Al Farekh after his arrest in 2015.  Photo courtesy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office
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Jury deliberations had to start from scratch on Thursday in the trial of a Houston native and al-Qaeda member accused of bombing a U.S. military base when four jurors spoke with the defendant’s father in a court elevator, officials said.

With three back-up jurors filling the dismissed jurors’ shoes, the second day of deliberations was restarted around midday with an 11-jury panel.

Deliberations were temporarily stalled Wednesday as well when Muhanad Mahmoud Al Farekh’s father requested to speak with his son, to which Judge Brian Cogan declined for security purposes.

“I hope there is an opportunity for them to meet in the future,” Cogan said Wednesday.

Al Farekh’s father also stood up during closing statements of the trial and yelled out to the judge to speak with his son.

The nine-count indictment includes charges that Al Farekh, 31, conspired to murder U.S. citizens and help send material support to a terrorist organization, namely al-Qaeda.

Al Farekh’s fingerprints were allegedly found on packing tape used to bind a bomb to a truck expected to destroy the U.S. Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan, prosecutors said.

As two trucks loaded with bombs approached the base on Jan. 19, 2009, the first one detonated, injuring a U.S. soldier and pregnant woman, among others in the base.

A second truck loaded with 7,500 pounds of explosives got stuck in a crater that was created by the first explosion, thwarting the attempt.

The driver of the second vehicle was shot dead by base security and the driver of the first vehicle died in the blast.

Deliberations continued Thursday afternoon.

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