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American describes training camp before Sept. 11 attacks at NY trial of ex-al-Qaida spokesman

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In this courtroom sketch, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, center, in beige suit, stands next to his defense attorney Stanley Cohen Monday, March 3, 2014 during jury selection at the start of Abu Ghaith's trial in New York on charges that he conspired to kill Americans and support terrorists in his role as al-Qaida's spokesman after the Sept. 11 attacks. Abu Ghaith is Osama bin Laden's son-in-law and is the highest-ranking al-Qaida figure to face trial on U.S. soil since the Sept. 11 attacks. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams) (The Associated Press)

An American who trained at an al-Qaida camp in Afghanistan months before the Sept. 11 attacks has testified for the government in its conspiracy case against the terrorist group's former spokesman.

The witness, Sahim Alwan (sah-HEEM' al-WAHN'), was called Thursday to testify against Sulaiman Abu Ghaith (SOO'-lay-mahn AH'-boo GAYTH). Abu Ghaith is charged with conspiring to kill Americans and conspiring to support al-Qaida.

Alwan pleaded guilty in 2003 to providing support to al-Qaida and served most of a 9½-year prison sentence. He says he was testifying Thursday because he was subpoenaed by the government.

The 41-year-old Alwan says he was born in Buffalo, N.Y., but went to Afghanistan with three others after meeting them at a mosque in Lackawanna (lak-ah-WAH'-nah), N.Y., where he grew up.

Presentation of evidence began Wednesday in the trial.

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