Chief Investigative Reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.

Jurors Chosen in NY Trial of Egyptian Imam

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    Abu Hamza al-Masri, who was indicted under the name Mustafa Kamel Mustafa

    A jury of eight men and four women was chosen in New York City for the trial of an Egyptian Islamic preacher extradited from Great Britain on charges he conspired to support al-Qaida.

    The jury was picked Monday for the trial of Abu Hamza al-Masri, who was indicted under the name Mustafa Kamel Mustafa.

    In court on Monday, al-Masri was asked to stand and show his shortened arms, which he claims were blown off while working with explosives in Afghanistan.

    Prospective jurors were being asked if they have any bias or links to the defendant, like connections to the Finsbury Mosque in Britain where al-Masri had been a radical preacher

    Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan said openings were expected Thursday. Court is off Tuesday and Wednesday for Jewish holidays.

    NYPD officials said there is no specific threat associated with this case but there were a couple of additional police officers stationed outside the federal courthouse as a precaution. 

    Al-Masri has pleaded not guilty to charges he conspired to support al-Qaida by trying to set up a terrorist training camp in 1999 in Oregon.

    He also is accused of helping abduct two American tourists and 14 others in Yemen in 1998. Four hostages died.

    Al-Masri has indicated he will testify on his own behalf during the trial, which is expected to last about a month. If convicted, he could face life in prison.

    --Jonathan Dienst contributed to this story

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