update FW: Ghailani convicted on one conspiracy charge but acquitted on all other charges

Update: Ghailani was convicted of violating 18 USC 844(f)(3) and (n).

844(f) provides:

(1) Whoever maliciously damages or destroys, or attempts to damage or destroy, by means of fire or an explosive, any building, vehicle, or other personal or real property in whole or in part owned or possessed by, or leased to, the United States, or any department or agency thereof, or any institution or organization receiving Federal financial assistance, shall be imprisoned for not less than 5 years and not more than 20 years, fined under this title, or both.

(2) Whoever engages in conduct prohibited by this subsection, and as a result of such conduct, directly or proximately causes personal injury or creates a substantial risk of injury to any person, including any public safety officer performing duties, shall be imprisoned for not less than 7 years and not more than 40 years, fined under this title, or both.

(3) Whoever engages in conduct prohibited by this subsection, and as a result of such conduct directly or proximately causes the death of any person, including any public safety officer performing duties, shall be subject to the death penalty, or imprisoned for not less than 20 years or for life, fined under this title, or both.

844(n) applies conspiracy liability to this provision, but takes the death penalty off the table:

(n) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person who conspires to commit any offense defined in this chapter shall be subject to the same penalties (other than the penalty of death) as the penalties prescribed for the offense the commission of which was the object of the conspiracy.

It is exceedingly hard to understand how a jury could conclude that Ghailani did conspire to bomb the embassy in question yet not also to kill the inevitable victims of the bombing. The situation smacks of a compromise verdict, unless of course one thinks the jury concluded that Ghailani new that the plan was to bomb the embassy yet though the scale would small and somehow not lethal.

From: Robert Chesney [mailto:rchesney@law.utexas.edu]
Sent: Wednesday, November 17, 2010 5:24 PM
To: nationalsecuritylaw@utlists.utexas.edu
Subject: [nationalsecuritylaw] Ghailani convicted on one conspiracy charge but acquitted on all other charges

* United States v. Ghailani (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 17, 2010)

Ahmed Ghailani has been acquitted on all charges except for one of the six conspiracy counts; it is not clear which count this was, though the Post suggests that it is not a murder conspiracy count. In any event, depending on which count this was, the maximum sentence could be anything from 10 years to life or even the death penalty. See here for a chart detailing the many charges and the max sentences. Please let me know if you have more detailed information about which precise charge was the count of conviction.

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