Siddig Ali Will Not Be Government Witness
NEW YORK (AP) _ A suspect in an alleged plot to bomb the United Nations and other sites who had seemingly turned government witness will not testify against his fellow defendants after all, federal prosecutors said Friday.
In a two-paragraph letter to the judge, Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said prosecutors decided not to enter into a ″cooperation agreement″ with Siddig Ibrahim Siddig Ali.
Siddig Ali’s testimony could have been damaging in the case against Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, the cleric who emigrated to the United States from Egypt in 1990 and is accused of being the spiritual leader of the 12 other men accused in the conspiracy.
The trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 19.
Siddig Ali, the sheik’s translator shortly before both were arrested, implied on tapes secretly recorded by the government that he had intimate knowledge of the World Trade Center bombing and the link between the sheik and various alleged terror plots.
Calls to Siddig Ali’s attorney, Howard Leader, and to the U.S. attorney’s office Friday night were not immediately returned.
The letter to U.S. District Judge Michael Mukasey was released Friday by attorney William Kunstler, who is representing one of the defendants and formerly represented Siddig Ali.
″This is a real breakdown of the government’s case,″ Kunstler said.
Siddig Ali, 33, of Jersey City, N.J., was taped last year by government informant Emad Salem as he described a broad terror plot to damage the United States.
The plans included assassinating Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and bombing the United Nations, a building housing the FBI, and two tunnels and a bridge connecting New Jersey and New York.
Prosecutors say the Feb. 26, 1993, World Trade Center bombing, which killed six people and injured more than 1,000, was also part of the conspiracy.
Four people convicted in that case were sentenced to life in prison without parole.