El Sayyid Nosair (born November 16, 1955) is an Egyptian-born American citizen and terrorist, convicted of involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
In 1994, Nosair was convicted in Federal Court of nine counts, including seditious conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, attempted murder in aid of racketeering, attempted murder of a postal police officer, use of a firearm in the commission of a murder, use of a firearm during an attempted murder, and possession of a firearm.
Assassination of Meir Kahane
In 1990, Nosair assassinated Meir Kahane
, the controversial leader of the Jewish Defense League
, shooting him with a handgun after a speech in Manhattan. In a split verdict described by Abramson as "bizarre," a jury acquitted
Nosair of the murder but convicted him of assault and possession of an illegal firearm. He was also convicted of related charges, including shooting a U. S. Postal Service Police Officer he encountered while running away from the Kahane scene. (That officer returned fire, wounding Mr. Nosair and preventing his escape). He was defended by William Kunstler
(along with two co-counsels), who at first advised him plead insanity. When Nosair refused, the defense argued that there had been a conspiracy against Nosair and Kahane might have been killed by one of his followers. Kunstler saw the composition of the jury (which he described as being made up of "third-world people" and "people who were not yuppies or establishment types") as crucial to the verdict.
The judge in the trial, Justice Alvin Schlesinger, said that the jury's acquittal of Nosair on the murder charge "was against the overwhelming weight of evidence and was devoid of common sense and logic. The judge added that "I believe the defendant conducted a rape of this country, of our Constitution and of our laws, and of people seeking to exist peacefully together. Kunstler also saw the split verdict as irrational, promising to appeal Nosair's convictions.
Conspiracy to Free Nosair from Prison
Nosair was originally sentenced to serve his time in Attica State Prison in New York. It was reported that prior to his arrest, Omar Abdul-Rahman (the “Blind Sheikh”) and his followers conducted detailed surveillance of the facility and had discussed plans to use a truck bomb attack combined with an armed assault, to rescue Nosair from prison.
Terror conspiracy conviction
Nosair was still serving time in prison on the assault and weapons charges when he was convicted as part of the trial of the "Blind Sheik" Omar Abdel-Rahman
. Both received life sentences
for a Terror conspiracy, in Nosair's case life plus 15 years imprisonment. It was ruled that Kahane's death was part of the total "seditious conspiracy," so Nosair was also convicted of killing Kahane. He is serving his sentence in ADX Florence
, the Federal ADX Supermax prison
in Florence, Colorado
Link to Osama Bin Laden
In 2002, Eleanor Hill, director of the Senate Intelligence Committee that investigating intelligence failures prior to the Attacks of September 11, 2001
, reported that Osama Bin Laden
helped pay for Nosair's legal defense for his trial for the murder of Kahane. Hill wrote that during that trial, the FBI learned that one of his relatives "traveled to Saudi Arabia to obtain money to pay for Nosair's defense" and that "He received funds from a wealthy Saudi - Usama Bin Ladin." Ronald Kuby, one of Nosair's lawyers in the 1991 state case, later stated that a cousin of Nosair's paid for some of the legal expenses with money he said was raised by "family and friends." However, he stressed that "We never got any checks signed Osama Bin Laden. We just barely got paid. We barely covered expenses.