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Legal News: Law Blog - WSJ.com
Prosecutors Drop Criminal Charges Against bin Laden
By Nathan Koppel
Osama bin Laden is free and clear of American law enforcement, in a manner of speaking.
Federal prosecutors today dropped criminal charges against the al Qaeda leader, stemming from a 1998 indictment naming him in the bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa that killed 224 people and injured thousands.
The authorities dropped the case, because, well, bin Laden has met a more serious fate than a criminal sentence.
The WSJ’s Chad Bray reports that the charges were formally dismissed Friday in Manhattan federal court, via a so-called nolle prosequi filing (that’s a new one on us) that cited bin Laden’s death.
Deputy Assistant Attorney General George Z. Toscas said in the filing that the U.S. government confirmed bin Laden’s death through DNA samples, facial recognition technology and by verifying it with one of his wives who lived in the Pakistan compound where he was killed, according to WSJ.
The raid recovered “a significant quantity” of al Qaeda material, including correspondence by bin Laden and a previously unreleased video of him, Toscas said in the filing.
Separately, a lawyer seeking to represent Khalid al-Fawwaz, a Saudi man who the U.S. claims previously acted as bin Laden’s public-relations representative, said in a court filing that al-Fawwaz could be extradited within months from the U.K. to face criminal charges in connection with the embassy bombings, WSJ reports.
A Saudi exile living in London, al-Fawwaz, a has fought extradition to the U.S. for more than a decade.
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