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Terrorism Trial Informant Tells of Plot on Judge

March 09, 1995|JOHN J. GOLDMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

NEW YORK — A key FBI undercover informant testified Wednesday that a defendant in the "war of urban terrorism" trial, El Sayyid A. Nosair, wanted him to kidnap and perhaps murder the judge who had sentenced Nosair to prison in the slaying of Rabbi Meir Kahane.

Nosair was found not guilty on Dec. 21, 1991, of shooting Kahane, the militant founder of the Jewish Defense League, in 1990 in a Manhattan hotel, but he was convicted on assault and weapon charges.

Nosair is now one of 11 people, including Egyptian Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, on trial for an alleged plot to blow up New York landmarks.

Prosecutors view Kahane's slaying as part of a web of terrorism spun by the sheik and his followers that included bombing the World Trade Center in 1993 as well as later plans for simultaneous blasts.

Emad Ali Salem, who was an FBI informant while serving as the sheik's bodyguard and translator, testified Wednesday that he visited Nosair at New York's Attica State Prison and that Nosair urged him to kidnap New York State Judge Alvin Schnesinger and hold him in exchange for Nosair's release.

Salem, a former Egyptian army major, told the court that Nosair added: "You can even shoot him."

Salem said that Nosair told him that none of the 300 people in the room when Kahane was killed saw who fired the shot. Salem then showed a gesture he said Nosair showed him--holding his right hand at belt level in the shape of a pistol and pulling the trigger--implying that Nosair had indeed killed the rabbi.

Salem admitted to being a liar and braggart in his testimony Tuesday. On Wednesday, he said he told Egyptian intelligence about a threat from the sheik against Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak four years ago.

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