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Jurors say verdict in World Trade case was easy

NEW YORK, March 5 -- Two jurors in the World Trade Center bombing case said they had little trouble arriving at a decision in the face of reams of evidence presented by prosecutors during the five-month trial.

In an interview Friday with New York 1, an all-news cable channel, one anonymous juror said he was impressed by the government's case against the four Muslim fundamentalists.

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'The prosecution presented enormous amounts of evidence, and the defense presented nothing in rebuttal,' he said.

The jury deliberated just four full days before convicting all defendants on all counts after a complex trial in which 207 witnesses testified.

The juror said the only disagreement was whether defendant Ahmad Ajaj, who was in jail at the time of the Feb. 26th blast, was guilty of plotting the deadly explosion.

'When we realized what the law was, we realized that in fact he was accountable -- then we had no difficulty coming up with a verdict of guilty,' he said.

The juror said the evidence against defendant Nidal Ayyad, a chemical engineer, was the most damning.

'(He) left a letter on his (computer) disk claiming further responsibility for the bombing,' he said. 'And his voice was also identified claiming the bombing.'

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The juror said he was unfazed by a mistake by one prosecution witness who identified a juror when asked to point to defendant Mahmud Abouhalima.

'We felt pretty certain he was involved,' he said. '(Abouhalima) had been identified on many occasions as the big redhead driving the limo, and the fact that he left the country almost two days after the bombing...was pretty conclusive.'

An alternate juror, who sat in on the trial but did not deliberate, spoke to the New York Daily News and agreed with the verdict.

'They're fanatical, and fanatical people are dangerous no matter what religion they belong to,' the alternate juror said, also calling the defendants 'cold-blooded murderers of the worst kind.'

Meanwhile, the State Department has issued a warning to American traveling or living in the Middle East, North Africa or South Asia, saying the verdict could trigger reprials from extremists.

'Although Islamic extremists have made generalized threats against foreigners in Egypt, at this time we have no specific information about potential actions linked to this conviction,' the warning stated.

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