Muslim cleric convicted
Urged followers to fight U.S. after September 11 attacks
From Terry Frieden
CNN Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A prominent Washington-area Muslim cleric was convicted Tuesday of urging his followers, days after the attacks of September 11, 2001, to go to Afghanistan and help the Taliban fight U.S. military forces.
Ali al-Timimi, 41, was convicted on all 10 counts of an indictment brought in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia.
U.S. Attorney Paul McNulty called the verdict a victory in the war on terrorism. In a written statement, he called al-Timimi "a kingpin of hate against America."
"He not only wanted Americans to die, he recruited others to his cause at a time when our country was mourning the loss of more than 3,000 people who were murdered in a heinous act of terrorism," McNulty said.
Al-Timimi's lawyer, Edward MacMahon, said he will appeal.
"We're obviously disappointed in the verdict. We'll continue to fight," he said. "They basically tried the guy for 9/11. He had nothing to do with that."
The jury had deliberated for a week after a trial that centered on al-Timimi's conversations at a meeting with young Muslim men on September 16, 2001.
Three of the followers traveled to Pakistan and received military training but never went into Afghanistan.
Some of al-Timimi's followers were charged separately and convicted earlier as members of a "Virginia jihad" organization.
Government prosecutors said al-Timimi had urged the men to defend the Taliban regime as part of a global war against the United States and the West.
Defense attorneys acknowledged al-Timimi had spoken out against the U.S. government and expressed support for the September 11 attacks.
They insisted, however, that he was free to express his controversial views and had only suggested the men leave the United States for their own protection
The Islamic scholar remains free on $75,000 bail pending sentencing, which Judge Leonie Brinkema has scheduled for July 13.
Possible sentences for the charges on which he was convicted range from 30 years to life in prison.
MacMahon said that unless some of the counts are dismissed on appeal, al-Timimi is likely to end up with a life sentence.