NEW YORK – A judge declared a mistrial after a jury deadlocked Thursday on whether a San Diego student lied about his associations with a Sept. 11, 2001, hijacker in the days after the terrorist attacks.
The jury in federal court in Manhattan could not decide whether Osama Awadallah, 25, lied to a grand jury investigating the attacks after an old phone number of his was found in a hijacker’s car…
The case against Awadallah, a San Diego State College student, had faced a bumpy road even before the trial began three weeks ago.
Awadallah was detained as a material witness in the terrorism probe after FBI agents went to his San Diego apartment nine days after the attacks to ask him about his associations with Nawaf al-Hazmi, a hijacker on the plane that hit the Pentagon.
The government alleged that he admitted his associations with al-Hazmi but initially denied to a grand jury that he knew al-Hazmi’s friend, Khalid al-Mihdhar, a second hijacker.
In 2002, Scheindlin tossed out two perjury charges against Awadallah, saying the government had used “duress or coercion” to get him to consent to FBI interviews and a lie detector test in the probe.
The charges were reinstated by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which said a jury could find that Awadallah was not forthcoming about what he knew about the hijackers.
The jury was repeatedly warned that Awadallah was not accused of participating in terrorism.
Berman had told jurors that his client met al-Hazmi at a San Diego gas station where both of them briefly worked and at a mosque…