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Jury selection inches forward in embassy bombings case
NEW YORK (CNN) -- The U.S. embassy bombings trial resumed Tuesday, the ninth day of jury selection. Court recessed after five potential jurors were added to the final jury pool, making a total of 66 persons toward a goal of 80 to be re-interviewed for the final cut.
Four men are standing trial in the August 1998 back-to-back bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people, including 12 Americans, and wounded more than 4,000 others. There were no proceedings Monday because of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
"Why are we doing this?" U.S. Disrict Court Judge Leonard Sand rhetorically asked 12 new jury pool members. "Because the goal is to obtain a jury that contains a fair cross- section of the community and can fairly and impartially determine very important questions, indeed with respect to two defendants, life and death questions."
Two of the defendants, accused Kenyan embassy bomber Mohamed Rashed Daoud al-'Owhali and alleged Tanzanian embassy bomber Khalfan Khamis Mohamed, could face the death penalty if convicted.
The other two defendants are Mohamed Sadeek Odeh, an alleged Kenya embassy bomber, and Wadih el Hage, an associate of Saudi exile Osama bin Laden, the fugitive charged with masterminding the embassy bombings as part of a worldwide conspiracy to kill Americans and destroy U.S. government property.
El Hage, a Lebanese-born U.S. citizen charged as a conspirator in the case, has said he worked with bin Laden on legal business matters.
Bin Laden is one of 13 fugitives in the case. Four other defendants in U.S. or British custody are expected to stand trial at a later date.
The potential jurors come from a pool of slightly more than 1,300 people who filled out and mailed in 96-question surveys last month. The jury will be comprised of 12 people and six alternates.
Jury selection will resume Thursday, after a day for legal discussions among the judge and attorneys.
Jury selection continues in embassy bombing trial
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