N.Y. Suspects: Blast Publicity Denies Fair Trial
The men being tried on charges of a terror conspiracy that included the World Trade Center blast can’t get a fair trial because of publicity about the Oklahoma City bombing, their lawyers in New York said Thursday in arguing for a mistrial.
“I’m concerned about it, too, but if there is any time to measure it, it isn’t now,” U.S. District Judge Michael Mukasey said in denying the requests.
One defense lawyer, John Jacobs, said his own 5-year-old son, touched by news of children killed in Wednesday’s blast, asked whether his client was to blame.
Jacobs told his child that the defendant, Mohammed Saleh, was innocent. But he was concerned about the effect that photographs of dead Oklahoma children could have on the New York jury.
Mukasey said he might question jurors before they begin deliberations to make sure they did not see or hear anything that would prevent them from judging fairly. On Wednesday, he told jurors to avoid watching or reading reports of the Oklahoma blast.
Eleven men, including Saleh and Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, are on trial on charges of plotting to blow up New York landmarks, including the trade center.
Last year four men were sentenced to life in prison in the Feb. 26, 1993, trade center explosion that killed six people and injured more than 1,000.
Mother of dead baby girl thanks rescue crew
The photograph pierced the heart: a limp, bloodied baby cradled in a firefighter’s arms. But what might have been a picture of hope brought only horror.
The child did not survive the bombing.
Baylee Almon’s picture brought home the horror of the scene to millions who saw it on the front pages of newspapers.
On Thursday, her mother, Aren Almon, 22, met with a TV reporter to talk about her grief and then had a tearful meeting with the police officers and firefighter who had tried to rescue her daughter.
“Thank you for getting her out of there as fast as you could,” Almon told Police Sgt. John Avera as she hugged him on the front lawn of the home where she is staying with relatives. Her apartment in the downtown Regency Towers was damaged in Wednesday’s blast.
Baylee was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency medical technicians, said firefighter Chris Fields, whose attempt to rescue the baby was captured by an amateur photographer and transmitted worldwide by The Associated Press.
FBI, charities set up national phone lines
The FBI has set up a nationwide telephone line for people with information about the bombing in Oklahoma City. The number is (800) 905-1514.
Here is a list of organizations accepting donations for victims of the Oklahoma City bombing.
The American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013. Credit-card donations can be made by calling (800) HELPNOW or (800) 842-2200 (English), or (800) 257-7575 (Spanish).
The B’nai B’rith Disaster Relief Fund, 1640 Rhode Island Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20036.
Feed the Children: (405) 942-0228 or (800) 741-1441.
Salvation Army, Box 12600, Oklahoma City, Okla. 73157. Telephone: (405) 270-7800. Must specify that money is for explosion disaster relief.
To check on relatives:
Red Cross: (405) 232-7121.
St. Anthony Hospital: (405) 231-3003 or 231-3006.
Wave of bomb threats, hoaxes hits West Coast
A wave of telephone bomb threats and hoaxes hit the West Coast on Thursday in the wake of Wednesday’s car bomb explosion in Oklahoma City. Several government and private buildings were evacuated, from San Francisco to Monterey.
No explosive devices were found, but “hoax” bombs were left outside federal office buildings in San Francisco and Seattle.
And copycat threats disrupted federal office workers in Oakland and businesses in South San Francisco, Scotts Valley and Monterey.
Security was tightened at federal offices around the country after an explosion blew apart the federal office building in downtown Oklahoma City. All visitors and employees entering federal buildings were required to show photo identification, and all handbags and parcels were checked either with a metal detector or were searched.
Local and federal law enforcement officials are giving all threats a high priority. They warn that people convicted of making malicious threats face a heavy penalty in federal prison - even if no explosive device is involved.