US judge postpones radical cleric Abu Hamza's trial to 2014
Terror trial of radical British preacher Abu Hamza would start on March 31 next year, said the US judge presiding over his case since he was extradited last year
The terror trial of radical British preacher Abu Hamza would start on March 31 next year, said the US judge presiding over his case since he was extradited last year.
Judge Katherine Forrest initially scheduled the trial for this summer, but said last Thursday that the long delay seemed necessary because of the vast amount of discovery material lawyers had to pore over, including sermons Abu Hamza made at mosques in Britain.
Forrest said the trial would run for up to eight weeks.
The postponement followed repeated complaints by defence lawyers that they were inundated with discovery material gathered by the prosecution, much of it needing translation from Arabic.
Forrest said she was setting the later date "in light of the uncertainties of the discovery". "It's a big case. It's bigger, I think, in the magnitude of the material than we discussed," she said.
Forrest also ordered defence and prosecution lawyers to agree within a week on the terms of a request to prison authorities on allowing Abu Hamza to have limited use of a computer while in remand. He requires prosthetic hands after a mining explosion.
Abu Hamza, who is also missing one eye, is being prosecuted under his birth name Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, rather than his better known moniker from his days in Britain.
He pleaded not guilty last year to 11 terror charges, including conspiring to set up an al-Qaeda-style training camp on American soil and abducting tourists in Yemen.