NEW YORK— The first Guantanamo detainee to face a civilian trial was acquitted Wednesday of all but one of the hundreds of charges he helped unleash death and destruction on two US embassies in 1998 — a mixed result for what's been viewed as a terror test case.
A federal jury convicted Ahmed Ghailani, of Tanzania, of one count of conspiracy to destroy US property and acquitted him on more than 280 other counts, including one murder count for each of the 224 people killed in the embassy bombings in East Africa in 1998. The anonymous jurors deliberated over seven days.
US District Judge Lewis Kaplan had thanked the jury, saying the outcome showed that justice "can be rendered calmly, deliberately and fairly by ordinary people — people who are not beholden to any government, even this one."
In a statement, Department of Justice spokesman Matthew Miller said US officials "respect the jury's verdict" and are "pleased" that Ghailani faces a minimum of 20 years and a maximum of life in prison at sentencing on Jan. 25.