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Man Found Guilty of Plot to Blow Up Los Angeles Airport

Aired July 13, 2001 - 11:43   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: There is a verdict in in the trial of the man accused of bringing over a load of explosives across the Canadian-U.S. border, allegedly to help with a plot to blow up Los Angeles International Airport.

With more on that verdict, let's go to our Jason Carroll, in New York City -- Jason.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Daryn, just about two days of deliberating, the jury found Mokhtar Haouari guilty on four counts of fraud, and more importantly, one count of conspiracy, for supporting a terrorist act. But the jury also found Haouari not guilty of another charge related to terrorism.

This whole trial centers on a plot to blow up Los Angeles International Airport. These three men had, apparently, conspired to leave a suitcase outside a security checkpoint some time during the millennium. Prosecutors say Haouari, an Algerian national, helped two other with the plan by agreeing to give one of them money and phony credit cards, as well as a fake passport.

Both men -- Ahmed Ressam and Abdel Ghani Meskini -- testified against Haouari, but it was really Ressam's testimony, Daryn, that was key to all of this. While he was on the stand, Ressam described the time that he spent in a terrorism training in Afghanistan, where he learned how to make explosives.

The defense never really challenged prosecutors on the fraud charges that Haouari was facing during this trial, admitting that he was a criminal, but not a terrorist.

Now, Daryn, just a while ago, I had an opportunity to speak with Daniel Ollen, the defense attorney, and he told me that he was pleased that he was able to get his client off on at least one of those terrorism charges -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Jason Carroll, in New York -- Jason, thank you.

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