NEW YORK – Deliberations at the first civilian trial of a Guantanamo detainee hit a snag Monday when a juror told the judge she felt threatened by other jurors and asked him to be removed from the panel.
The note raised the specter of a hung jury because the juror said she was at odds with the rest of the panel as they try to settle on a verdict on terror charges against Ahmed Ghailani in federal court in Manhattan.
"My conclusion is not going to change," she wrote without indicating her position. "I feel (I am being) attacked for my conclusion."
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan responded by calling all the jurors into the courtroom, reminding them of his instructions on the law and telling them to continue working.
The jury later ended its third day without a verdict and was to resume deliberating Tuesday.
The judge shot down a defense motion arguing that the discord was grounds for a mistrial.
"To expect unanimity in this span of time ... is unrealistic," Kaplan said. "Let's just see what happens. Time is a great thing."
Prosecutors allege Ghailani helped an al-Qaida cell buy a truck and components for explosives used in a suicide bombing in his native Tanzania on Aug. 7, 1998. The attack in Dar es Salaam and a nearly simultaneous bombing in Nairobi, Kenya, killed 224 people, including 12 Americans.
The day before the bombings, Ghailani fled by boarding a one-way flight to Pakistan under an alias, prosecutors said. While on the run, he spent time in Afghanistan as a cook and bodyguard for Osama bin Laden and later as a document forger for al-Qaida, authorities said.
He was captured in 2004 in Pakistan and held by the CIA at a secret overseas camp. In 2006, he was transferred to Guantanamo and held until the decision last year to bring him to New York.
The defense has argued that the 36-year-old defendant was a "dupe" who was in the dark about the plot.