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Jury Convicts Jose Padilla of Terror Charges

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The jury did seem to be an oddly cohesive group. On the last day of trial before the Fourth of July holiday, jurors arranged to dress in outfits so that each row in the jury box was its own patriotic color -- red, white or blue.

Jurors chose not to speak with reporters after the trial.

But in finding him guilty on all three counts, they appear to have endorsed prosecutors' allegations that Padilla was recruited by a co-defendant and that, in July 2000, he attended a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan.

The key piece of physical evidence against Padilla was a "mujahideen data form" -- basically, a personnel form that a CIA witness testified had been recovered from an al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan. Although defense lawyers attacked its authenticity, it bore Padilla's fingerprints and some of his personal information.

The other evidence was the wiretapped calls, of which Padilla's voice is heard on seven. These, however, offered few specific clues of his intentions.

In one typically vague call in April 2000, his alleged recruiter talked to Padilla about having prepared him "psychologically" and then seemed to press Padilla, then in Egypt, to become more active.

"Yeah, I mean . . . but I need training," Padilla responded. "This is the problem -- I mean, I don't have a recommendation."

Three months later, according to the "mujahideen data form," Padilla was attending the training camp.

To find him guilty of the murder conspiracy charge, the jury had to believe that Padilla intended, when he left the United States in 1998, to commit murder overseas.

On this point, the evidence was relatively thin.

On none of the calls does he explicitly call for killing or any other type of violence. A prosecution witness said that he attended the same training camp as Padilla -- to help defend Muslims in places where they might be under attack, not to become a terrorist.

Moreover, prosecutors never identified exactly whom Padilla and his co-defendants wanted to kill.


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