NEW YORK – A judge in New York has rejected an Egyptian Islamic preacher's request to give his own opening statement at his federal trial on charges he conspired to support al-Qaida.
Judge Katherine Forrest told Mustafa Kamel Mustafa (muh-STAH'-fuh kah-MEHL' muh-STAH'-fuh) on Thursday he cannot give the opening statement as he counters claims he was a vital piece of the terrorism machinery before his 2004 arrest. Opening statements begin Thursday.
The government is trying to prove Mustafa tried to set up an al-Qaida training camp in Bly, Ore., in late 1999 and early 2000. He's also charged with helping kidnappers in Yemen use satellite phones in a 1998 attack that killed four people, and arranging for fighters to attend an Afghanistan al-Qaida training camp.
The 55-year-old cleric was extradited from England in 2012.