152 F.3d 88 (2nd Cir. 1998), 94-1312, United States v. Salameh

Docket Nº:94-1312 to 94-1315.
Citation:152 F.3d 88
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Mohammed A. SALAMEH, Nidal Ayyad, Mahmoud Abouhalima, also known as Mahmoud Abu Halima, Ahmad Mohammad Ajaj, also known as Khurram Khan, Defendants-Appellants, Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, Bilal Alkaisi, also known as Bilal Elqisi, Abdul Rahman Yasin, also known as Aboud, Defendants.
Case Date:August 04, 1998
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
 
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152 F.3d 88 (2nd Cir. 1998)

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,

v.

Mohammed A. SALAMEH, Nidal Ayyad, Mahmoud Abouhalima, also

known as Mahmoud Abu Halima, Ahmad Mohammad Ajaj,

also known as Khurram Khan, Defendants-Appellants,

Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, Bilal Alkaisi, also known as Bilal

Elqisi, Abdul Rahman Yasin, also known as Aboud, Defendants.

Nos. 94-1312 to 94-1315.

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

August 4, 1998

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        J. Gilmore Childers, Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, New York City (Mary Jo White, United States Attorney, Lev L. Dassin, Michael J. Garcia, Dietrich L. Snell, Alexandra Rebay, Assistant United States Attorneys, of counsel), for appellee.

        Frank Handelman, New York City, for defendant-appellant Mohammed A. Salameh.

        Jeremy Schneider, Rothman, Schneider, Soloway & Stern, New York City, for defendant-appellant Nidal Ayyad.

        Miranda Fritz, Fritz & Miller, New York City, for defendant-appellant Ahmad Mohammad Ajaj.

        Lawrence Mark Stern, New York City, for defendant-appellant Mahmoud Abouhalima.

        Before: MESKILL, McLAUGHLIN and CALABRESI, Circuit Judges.

        PER CURIAM:

        Following a lengthy jury trial in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Duffy, J.), defendants were convicted of various crimes related to the bombing of the World Trade Center Complex in New York City. Defendants now appeal, asserting a congeries of arguments. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment of the district court but remand for re-sentencing and decline to exercise jurisdiction over certain post-trial motions pending before the district court.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS Background ............................................................... 107 I. Suppression Motions ............................................... 108 A. Motions to Suppress Materials Seized From Ajaj ................. 108 (1) Ajaj's Motion .............................................. 108 (2) Abouhalima's Motion ........................................... 110 (a) Rule 403 .................................................. 110 (b) First Amendment ........................................... 111 (3) Ayyad's Motion ................................................ 112 B. Motion to Suppress Contents of the Storage Shed ................... 112 (1) Probablese .................................................... 112 (2) Franks Hearing ................................................ 113 (3) Good Faith Reliance ........................................... 114 II. Procedural Motions ................................................ 114 A. Abouhalima — Severance ............................................ 114 (1) Ajaj's Holy War Materials ..................................... 115 (2) Salameh's Summation............................................ 116 B. Abouhalima — Involuntariness of Statement ......................... 117 C. Ayyad — Failure to Grant Funds for Experts ........................ 118 D. Ajaj — Eastern District Plea Agreement ............................ 118 III. Jury Selection ..................................................... 120 IV. Evidentiary Rulings ................................................. 122 A. Admission of Evidence Regarding Bombing Victims .................. 122 (1) Probative Value .............................................. 122 (2) Danger of Unfair Prejudice ................................... 123 B. Admission of Evidence Regarding Nosair ........................... 123 (1) Photographs of Salameh and Nosair ............................ 123 (2) Admission of Abouhalima's Contacts with Nosair ............... 124 C. Admission of Identification ...................................... 124 (1) Use of Photo Array ........................................... 125 (2) Subsequent In-Court Identifications .......................... 126 D. Examination of Storage Facility Employee ......................... 127 (1) Leading Questions ............................................ 127 (2) Comments Regarding Meeting ................................... 128 E. Testimony of the Government's Fingerprint Expert ................. 128 F. Admission of DNA Evidence ........................................ 129 G. Confrontation Clause ............................................. 130 (1) Moneeb ....................................................... 131 (2) Butler ....................................................... 131 (3) Moharam ...................................................... 132 H. Requested Read-back of Testimony ................................. 132 V. Jury Arguments ...................................................... 133 A. Prosecutorial Misconduct as to Abouhalima ........................ 134 (1) Government Misrepresentations ................................ 134 (a) Witnesses ................................................ 134 (b) Affiliation With Yousef .................................. 134 (c) Inexplicable Nervousness ................................. 134 (2) Jury Fear .................................................... 134 (3) Government Vouching .......................................... 135 (4) Burden of Proof .............................................. 136 B. Prosecutorial Misconduct as to Ajaj .............................. 137 (1) Government's Improper Arguments .............................. 137 (2) Attacks on the Defense ....................................... 138 (3) Change in Summation Theory ................................... 139 VI. Jury Charge ......................................................... 140 A. The Bully Hypothetical ........................................... 140 B. Abouhalima — Terrorist Materials ........................... 144 C. Elements of the Charged Conspiracy ............................... 145 D. Ajaj's Objection to the Jury Charge .............................. 147 (1) Essential Nature of Plan ..................................... 147 (2) Inclusion of the Pinkerton Charge ................... 148 (3) Failure to Charge on Withdrawal Sua Sponte ................... 150 VII. Sufficiency of the Evidence ........................................ 151 A. Standard of Review .............................................. 151 B. Ajaj ............................................................ 151 C. Abouhalima ...................................................... 155 VIII. Unfair Trial — Due Process ......................................... 157 IX. Post-Trial Motions ................................................. 158 A. New Trial (Ajaj) ................................................ 158 B. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel ............................... 160 X. Sentencing ......................................................... 161 Conclusion ............................................................... 161 Page 107

BACKGROUND 1

        On April 24, 1992, Ahmad Mohammad Ajaj departed from his home in Houston, Texas, and traveled to the Middle East to attend a terrorist training camp, known as "Camp Khaldan," on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. There he learned how to construct homemade explosive devices. During his time in Pakistan, Ajaj met Ramzi Ahmed Yousef. Together the two plotted to use their newly acquired skills to bomb targets in the United States.

        In the fall of 1992, after formulating a terrorist plan, Ajaj and Yousef traveled to New York under assumed names. Ajaj carried with him a "terrorist kit" that he and Yousef had assembled in Pakistan. The kit included, among other things, handwritten notes Ajaj had taken while attending explosives courses, manuals containing formulae and instructions for manufacturing bombs, materials describing how to carry-off a successful terrorist operation, videotapes advocating terrorist action against the United States, and fraudulent identification documents.

        On September 1, 1992, Ajaj and Yousef, using false names and passports, arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. At customs, INS inspectors discovered that Ajaj's passport had been altered and, consequently, they searched his belongings. Upon discovery of the "terrorist kit," Ajaj became belligerent. The INS seized Ajaj's "terrorist kit" and placed him under arrest. Ajaj was later indicted in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York for passport fraud. He pled guilty and was sentenced to six months' imprisonment.

        During Ajaj's encounter with the INS inspectors, he denied that he was traveling with Yousef, who proceeded unmolested to the secondary inspection area where he presented an Iraqi passport and claimed political asylum. Yousef was arrested for entering the United States...

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