The self-described mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks says the onetime Osama bin Laden spokesman who is on trial in New York had no role in planning military operations for al-Qaida.

The mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, said in a statement filed in Manhattan federal court late Sunday that Sulaiman Abu Ghaith (SOO'-lay-mahn AH'-boo GAYTH) served as an al-Qaida spokesman because he was "an eloquent, spellbinding speaker."

But Mohammed says Abu Gaith "had nothing to do with military operations."

Abu Gaith, who is a son-in-law of bin Laden, is charged with conspiring to kill Americans.

Mohammed is in a detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but Abu Gaith's lawyers hope to use his testimony at the trial.

They would need U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan's approval to introduce the information.