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No Bail for bin Laden Secretary

September 24, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ The former personal secretary of Muslim extremist Osama bin Laden was ordered held without bail on a charge of perjury, accused of lying about his ties to bin Laden’s terrorist group.

Bin Laden is the Saudi exile wanted by U.S. authorities for allegedly coordinating attacks on American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania on Aug. 7 that killed 259 people, including 12 Americans, and wounded thousands.

An attorney for Wadih El Hage, 38, argued Wednesday that his client was not charged in the bombing and would not flee the country.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said El Hage’s ties to bin Laden and World Trade Center bomber Mahmoud Abouhalima were reason enough to keep him held without bail, and U.S. Magistrate Judge Leonard Bernikow agreed.

The grand jury that indicted El Hage has been investigating whether he tried to procure chemical weapons for bin Laden. El Hage, who was arrested last week, is charged with eight counts of perjury and three counts of making false statements.

El Hage has admitted working for bin Laden in the Sudan in 1994.

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