Prosecutors wish to give Osama bin Laden an extreme leading light role in the terrorism trial of the first Guantanamo Bay prisoner to be tried in civilian courts, a test case in the debate over whether suspects shoveled up in the war against terrorism can be prosecuted like everyone else.
Jury selection is scheduled to start over Wednesday in the trial of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, described by federal authorities as a bomb maker, document forger and former bin laden aide. He's accused with conspiring to kill Americans in the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa. The attacks slayed 224 people, including a dozen Americans, and were widely viewed as a precursor to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
The trial will be closely watched by those debating the possibility of civilian trials of high-profile Guantanamo detainees arrested all around the world. Some were subjected to cruel interrogations at secret CIA-run camps where the assembly of trial evidence yielded to an immediate need to unearth terrorism threats.