Al-Qaida kingpin Khalid Sheik Mohammed testified at the U.S. war crimes court Friday as “executive director of 9-11” and dismissed Osama bin Laden's driver as a primitive pleasure seeker unqualified to plot or carry out terror.
“He is fit to change trucks' tires, change oil filters, wash and clean cars,” said Mohammed in his written testimony. He is blamed for the mass murder of 2,973 people on Sept. 11, 2001. With that endorsement, the defense rested in the trial of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, 37, of Yemen, the first U.S. war crimes tribunal since World War II.
The jury of six military officers is to start deliberating on a verdict Monday, after lawyers give closing arguments.
Defense lawyers had argued for months for access to the confessed architect of the Sept. 11 terror attacks to dispute the Pentagon's charge that Hamdan was an al-Qaida insider, not just a driver but a sometime bodyguard and weapons courier responsible for international terror.
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Mohammed declined to testify live. So the jury read his testimony.
In his reply to defense attorney's questions, Mohammed not only claimed credit for the 9-11 attacks – likely fodder for his future death penalty trial. But he also trivialized the first war on terror captive to face American military commission justice.
“He was only searching for pleasure and money in this life,” Mohammed said of Hamdan, who earned $200 a month.
It takes two-thirds of the jury to convict Hamdan. They then would deliberate a penalty