No Bail for bin Laden Secretary
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.
Abouhalima was one of four men convicted of bombing the trade center on Feb. 26, 1993. The blast killed six people and injured more than 1,000 others.
Fitzgerald also said El Hage had ties to El Sayyid Nosair, who was convicted of conspiracy in a federal trial for his role in a plot to blow up the United Nations and other city landmarks.
Nosair was also convicted of gun possession and charges related to the 1990 shooting of Rabbi Meir Kahane but acquitted of murder in an earlier state trial. Kahane was gunned down as he finished a speech in the Halloran House in New York, now the Marriott East Side.
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 of Arlington, Texas, has admitted working for bin Laden in the Sudan in 1994.