Two lawyers for Saddam Hussein said Monday that the former Iraqi president's half brother claims U.S. officials offered him a ranking government position in Iraq if he testified against Saddam but he rejected a deal.

Barazan Ibrahim purportedly made the claim Thursday during a closed-door hearing by the Higher Iraqi Tribunal, which is hearing war crimes charges against Saddam, Ibrahim and six other former officials.

American officials could not be reached for comment Monday, which was a U.S. holiday.

In Baghdad, Chief Prosecutor Jaafar al-Mousawi said he could speak only about the closed court hearing and said there was no attempt to cut a deal with Ibrahim then. He declined to discuss what was said at the session.

The report first appeared in an interview with Saddam's chief Iraqi lawyer, Khalil al-Dulaimi, that was published Monday in the independent Jordanian newspaper Al Arab Al Yawm.

Another Saddam lawyer later gave a similar account to The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to give details of the closed session.

Dulaimi, who is in Baghdad, and the second lawyer said they were present in the courtroom when Ibrahim made his claim.

According to Dulaimi, Ibrahim told the court that the "Americans had offered me a senior political post in return for testifying against the president." Dulaimi said Ibrahim did not elaborate on which post, but said he refused the offer.

Ibrahim was captured in April 2003 shortly after U.S. troops took Baghdad.

Saddam and his seven co-defendants are on trial for the deaths of more than 140 Shiite Muslims after an assassination attempt on him in the town of Dujail in 1982. The trial is set to resume on Jan. 24.