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In a sweeping victory for federal prosecutors, a Southern District of New York jury on Tuesday convicted four men of being part of a terrorist conspiracy to kill Americans and attack American installations abroad. After months hearing evidence, and 12 days of deliberations, a panel of seven women and five men returned guilty verdicts on all 302 counts in an indictment charging a conspiracy led by fugitive Osama Bin Laden — a plot that culminated in the 1998 bombings of United States embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Two of the defendants, Mohamed Rashed Daoud Al-’Owhali and Khalfan Khamis Mohamed, now face the death penalty in separate proceedings before the same jury, both for employing a weapon of mass destruction. Al-’Owhali was convicted in the murders of 213 Kenyan and American nationals at the bombing of the embassy in Kenya on Aug. 7, 1998. Mohamed was convicted in the murders of 11 people in an attack on the embassy in Tanzania that occurred within minutes of the Kenyan explosion. Two other defendants face life in prison for their part in the conspiracy. Mohamed Sadeek Odeh, 36, who prosecutors argued was the bomb technician behind the Kenyan attack, was convicted of aiding and abetting the 213 murders. “This was a tough trial,” said Anthony L. Ricco, attorney for Odeh. “Each of the lawyers had a different view of the evidence and a different view of what they had to accomplish. We did the best we could.” Like Odeh, 40-year-old Wadih El Hage was convicted of being part of the broader conspiracy. But El Hage was also convicted of 18 counts of perjury for statements he made to a grand jury investigating the Bin Laden organization al-Qaeda — statements he made both before and after the African bombings. El Hage, an American citizen, was depicted by defense lawyer Sam Schmidt as a man who handled legitimate business transactions for Bin Laden and was unaware of the conspiracy. But prosecutors Patrick Fitzgerald, Kenneth Karas and Paul Butler fought to show that El Hage’s business activities were merely a front for his real assignment: raising and distributing money to finance attacks, including the purchase of weapons, at the behest of Bin Laden. REACTION TO VERDICT The reaction to the verdict was muted, with all four defendants, as well as their lawyers, sitting somberly as U.S. District Judge Leonard Sand and his deputy, Danny Kenneally, took turns working their way through the verdict sheet. In the audience was U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White, amid dozens of relatives of bombing victims, fellow prosecutors and FBI agents. White was subdued as she left the courtroom and accepted handshakes of congratulations from well-wishers. “I am obviously gratified by the jury’s work,” White said later. “And today’s guilty verdicts are a triumph for world justice and moral dignity in combating international terrorism.” TOUGHEST TASK The toughest task for lawyers representing Al-’Owhali and Mohamed begins this morning, with the capital phases of the case. The death penalty phase for Al-’Owhali is first. Frederick Cohn, lead counsel for Al-’Owhali, declined comment Tuesday after the verdict. But Cohn told the court that after the prosecution completes what is expected to be a three-day presentation, his defense of Al-’Owhali would take at least two days. Al-’Owhali, 24, played a major part in the Kenyan attack, riding in the truck that delivered the bomb and throwing stun grenades intended to distract Kenyan guards at the embassy. Although he planned to be a martyr for the cause as a suicide bomber, Al-’Owhali jumped from the truck and fled at the last moment. When the jury has decided Al-’Owhali’s fate, the prosecution will then begin the death penalty phase for Mohamed, 27. Defense lawyer David Ruhnke will try to persuade the same jury that convicted his client of helping to build the bomb and transport it to the embassy in Tanzania that he should be spared the death penalty. Cohn, as well as Ruhnke, recognized they had little chance of prevailing during the trial, as both defendants had given confessions to investigators about their respective roles in the bombings. During the trial, Ruhnke tried, with one eye on a potential capital phase, to persuade the jury that Mohamed was a pawn who had little or no knowledge about the larger conspiracy. And the lawyers for both Mohamed and Al-’Owhali challenged the integrity of the indictment, accusing prosecutors of alleging an ill-defined and broadly worded conspiracy. But Fitzgerald, Karas and Butler were able to convince the panel that both circumstantial and direct evidence pointed to the guilt of all four men — from the hands-on involvement with the bombs on the part of Al-’Owhali and Mohamed, to the logistical and technical support provided by El Hage and Odeh. Having already presented massive amounts of evidence to the panel, the three prosecutors will now have to convince every member of the jury that Al-’Owhali and Mohamed deserve the ultimate punishment.

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