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World Trade Center trial postponed a day

Ramzi Yousef August 4, 1997
Web posted at: 3:13 p.m. EDT (1913 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Opening statements in the trial of Ramzi Yousef, the accused mastermind in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, were postponed on Monday due to the illness of one juror and the dismissal of an alternate juror.

U.S. District Court Judge Kevin Duffy said the first alternate juror had been taken off the trial because of the possibility someone could identify him.

"He said something which compromised his status as an anonymous juror," Duffy said in Manhattan federal court. Duffy said the court hopes to protect the identities of the jurors.

He said one of the 12 permanent jurors had called in sick but was expected to be in court on Tuesday.

Six people were killed and more than 1,000 injured in the World Trade Center bombing.

Yousef is already serving a life sentence for his conviction last year in another bombing conspiracy. In that case, Yousef was convicted of trying in early 1995 to plant liquid bombs on a dozen U.S. airliners flying from Asian cities.

The trial of Yousef and his co-defendant Eyad Ismoil had been scheduled to start just days after authorities said they had prevented a suicide bombing attack on the New York subway by Middle Eastern men.

At the request of defense lawyers, Duffy questioned all of the permanent jurors and each of the six alternate jurors about whether their impartiality had been affected by last week's suicide bombing in Israel and the discovery of five pipe bombs in a raid on a Brooklyn apartment.

The judge said opening statements would begin on Tuesday if he and lawyers were satisfied that the sick juror who was absent on Monday could remain fair.


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