Jose Padilla, a larger-than-life symbol for the Bush administration’s war on terrorism, was found guilty along with two others yesterday on charges of plotting to support Islamic extremists overseas, reports the Miami Herald. It took jurors just 11 hours to reach unanimous verdicts, despite a complex body of evidence that included hundreds of FBI phone wiretaps introduced during the three-month federal trial. Padilla was charged with serving as an al Qaeda recruit; he and two other men from a South Florida-based terror cell, will be sentenced Dec. 5.
One juror told the Herald that the panel itself was surprised at how quickly it reached unanimous guilty verdicts. The juror watched the post-verdict TV news, commenting on the media’s obsession with Padilla. ”He was just a small pawn in this thing. He was guilty — believe me. But there were much bigger people involved,” the juror said by phone, describing another defendant as ”the East Coast recruiter” for al Qaeda and a third as the “the money man.”