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Trade Center jury asks to review evidence

defendant

Defendants face life in prison

November 6, 1997
Web posted at: 10:33 p.m. EST (0333 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The jury deliberating on the fate of two men accused of conspiring to bomb the World Trade Center began their work Thursday by reviewing evidence involving one of the two.

The jurors asked to see photographs of Eyad Ismoil and other evidence the prosecution says incriminates him. Prosecutors say Ismoil played a key role in the February 26, 1993, attack by driving a van carrying the bomb into the building's parking garage and setting it off.

The jury also asked to hear the testimony of two witnesses and to review phone records that allegedly link Ismoil to the explosion.

Six people were killed in the explosion, more than 1,000 were injured and the damaged totaled $500 million.

None of the evidence requested was related to the other defendant, Ramzi Yousef, who prosecutors say directed the attack.

Prosecutors say Yousef built the bomb and orchestrated the attack, while Ismoil drove the van that carried the bomb into the trade center's underground garage.

"Yousef was a terrorist," Assistant U.S. Attorney Lev Dassin said during the trial. "He came here to kill and to spread fear among the people of the United States. And when he did that, the very night he did that, he fled the country."

Defendants face life in prison

Yousef's lawyer, Roy Kulcsar, told jurors in his summation Tuesday that his client was a victim of overzealous federal agents eager to avenge the terrorist act with arrests even at the expense of the truth.

"It doesn't make sense how Ramzi Yousef was in the United States with no money and no contacts and somehow becomes the mastermind of the World Trade Center bombing," Kulcsar said.

Ismoil's lawyer, Louis Aidala, said his client was duped into thinking that boxes he helped load into the van contained industrial cleaning supplies.

Yousef was arrested in Pakistan in 1995, the same year Ismoil was taken into custody in Jordan.

Yousef, 29, and Ismoil, 26, face up to life in prison without parole if convicted of the most serious federal charge of conspiracy. Four other men convicted in a separate conspiracy trial were each sent to prison for 240 years.

 
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