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Prosecutor Karl Metzner told jurors that he did not have to prove why a San Diego man lied to a grand jury about knowing one of the Sept. 11 hijackers. But he thought that they would be more comfortable convicting Osama Awadallah if he offered them a motive for his perjury. Delivering his summation in the second trial of the five-year-old case, Mr. Metzner suggested that Mr. Awadallah knew that he had been linked to one hijacker, but he did not want to make things worse by admitting his contacts with a second terrorist. Mr. Metzner said that Mr. Awadallah had already admitted to FBI agents that he had met Nawaf Al-Hazmi on as many as 40 occasions, but he had only met Khalid Al-Midhar as few as seven times, each time in the company of Mr. Al-Hazmi. Mr. Awadallah also claimed that he never mentioned “Khalid” when he was first interviewed by agents nine days after the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. “Why would he lie about not knowing the other?” Mr. Metzner said to the jury in Judge Shira Scheindlin’s courtroom. “Mr. Awadallah decided to tell the grand jury only as much as he thought he had to.” Mr. Al-Hazmi and Mr. Al-Midhar were among the hijackers who seized American Airlines Flight 77 and flew it into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. Mr. Awadallah became a subject in the investigation when agents discovered his old phone number in the car that Mr. Al-Hazmi left in the trunk of a car at Dulles International Airport. He was questioned by agents over two days, Sept. 20 and Sept. 21, but when he refused to fly east voluntarily to testify before the grand jury, he was arrested as a material witness and brought to New York. In his first appearance before the grand jury, he was presented by prosecutor Robin Baker with a copy of an exam blue book from Grossmont College, where the 21-year-old Jordanian native was studying English as a second language. Under questioning from Ms. Baker on Oct. 10, 2001, about notations in the blue book mentioning “Nawaf” and “Khalid,” Mr. Awadallah told several lies, Mr. Metzner said yesterday, including denying that he knew “Khalid” and then denying that he had written several words in the blue book. The lies were the basis for two perjury counts against Mr. Awadallah. Yesterday, defense lawyer Jesse Berman reminded the jury that Mr. Awadallah reappeared before the grand jury five days later on Oct. 15, 2001, and recanted his earlier testimony — admitting that he had, indeed, met “Khalid” and that it was all his handwriting in the blue book. From the outset of his summation, Mr. Berman argued that his client lacked a motive to lie. And since he had no reason not to tell the truth, he insisted that the government had not proved that he intended to lie. He recalled for the jury that Mr. Awadallah willingly signed consent forms allowing agents to search his house, his computer and his car — and that one agent testified that he was “very cooperative.” “The agents said ‘he gave us lots of information, he was friendly, he was cordial,’” Mr. Berman said. He asked the jury whether these were the actions of a man who would want to “mess up that grand jury.” It was up to the jury, Mr. Berman said, to decide whether Mr. Awadallah was out to throw a monkey wrench into the investigation or if, in his “confusion and exhaustion, he made mistakes and corrected them as soon as he could.” Treatment challenged But Mr. Metzner made a point of telling the jury “you don’t have to find his lies actually impeded the investigation — only that (those lies were) capable of impeding the investigation.” Mr. Metzner told the jury that, in the rush to find any connections to the hijackers and possibly prevent another attack after 9/11, the “grand jury was looking for every piece of information about how the hijackers got to the United States, what they did when they got here, who they met when they got here.” Mr. Awadallah knew he was frustrating that effort when he lied about knowing “Khalid,” he said, because, for all the grand jury knew, the man who was with “Nawaf” on the seven or so occasions he met with Mr. Awadallah, might have been another, unidentified conspirator still at large. Mr. Berman has challenged the way Mr. Awadallah was treated by FBI agents, how he was treated behind bars by prison personnel while being held as a material witness and the fact that Mr. Awadallah was handcuffed to a chair during his grand jury testimony. “All the importance of the 9/11 investigation doesn’t justify treating this man like a dog,” Mr. Berman said yesterday. In this respect, he received a sympathetic ear from Judge Scheindlin, who at one point deemed the search and questioning of Mr. Awadallah as coercive and dismissed the perjury charges, only to have them reinstated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The prosecution also made an unsuccessful attempt to have Judge Scheindlin removed from the case because some of her rulings went against the government and she made some critical comments from the bench. But the circuit declined and she went on to preside over Mr. Awadallah’s first trial earlier this year. That trial ended in a hung jury after a lone juror refused to convict. The jury began its deliberations yesterday afternoon and is expected to resume this morning. Mark Hamblett can be reached at [email protected]

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