MIAMI (AFP) – The trial of US terror suspect Jose Padilla got under way Monday with the prosecution claiming he trained in
Afghanistan to become an Al-Qaeda fighter, and the defense insisting the former Chicago gang member stands wrongly accused.
In his opening statements in the Miami courtroom, prosecutor Brian Frazier made no mention of the radioactive bomb plot that was cited when Padilla was arrested and placed in military detention in 2002 but that does not figure in the indictment.
Frazier told the 12 jurors that Padilla and two co-accused were fully aware that “the central mission of Al-Qaeda was the destruction of the United States and other countries” and took “concrete steps to support and promote this violence.”
But defense lawyer Anthony Natale insisted the government had no case against his client.
“Jose was not a member of any support cell because there wasn’t one. He did not commit violence. There were no victims, real or imaginary,” Natale told the jurors.