“He did the Gotti trial.”The Eastern District of New York has long been known for its work against organized crime. In December, 2000, William Bultemeier, a military attaché, was gunned down in a midnight carjacking outside a restaurant in the capital. finances its campaigns by smuggling and by kidnapping Westerners, and Cheibani was said to have participated in the kidnapping of two Canadian diplomats in 2008.
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The letter referred, specifically, to several extraditions that Ahmad was involved in. has a promising investigation, it becomes like a client shopping for a lawyer. As Ahmad began travelling in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe, and began winning significant convictions, her stock at the F. When Ahmad revived the case of William Bultemeier’s murder, in West Africa, David Bitkower, her supervisor, had doubts.
The senators and their allies strongly prefer that foreign terrorists who target Americans be detained in the military prison at Guantánamo Bay and, when possible, tried by a military tribunal. Maybe it’s just the airport that returning fighters land in—anything.”When the F. “That region is not a five-star destination at the best of times, and this was not the best of times,” he said.
The preview that Cheibani and his lawyers got was discouraging. Y., David Bitkower, told me, “You coöperate some kid from Minneapolis in 2009, and a couple of years later he’s going to help you prosecute an Al Shabaab commander, who is going to help you pursue defendants farther up the chain.” Ahmad considers all her Trials are relatively easy, in Ahmad’s view: “There’s a neutral arbiter—a judge, a jury.
“They know Zainab’s reputation,” a federal prosecutor who has worked with Ahmad said. You make your best argument, and they decide.” Getting an extraterritorial terrorism case charged, on the other hand, requires establishing facts to the satisfaction of an American grand jury about events that occurred, often years ago, in faraway places.
“They know their chances are not good.”Ahmad had made numerous trips to West Africa, chasing leads, collecting evidence, interviewing potential witnesses. “Coöperators are the unsung heroes of this business,” Ahmad said. For Ahmad’s cases, those places have included Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Algeria, Syria, Nigeria, Niger, Kenya, Somalia, Trinidad, Guyana, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Special approval must be obtained both from Main Justice—as government lawyers call Justice Department headquarters, in Washington, D.
For the hearing, she brought in seventeen witnesses from Niger and Mali, few of whom were prepared for a New York winter. “We were all frantically scraping up coats, hats, shoes. But the hardest part of bringing a terrorism suspect onto American soil, she says, has usually been convincing the U. C.—and from the National Security Council, in the White House.
His boss, who eventually became his partner, was a Hindu from India. “But if there was a war between India and Pakistan we didn’t bring it home. We’re the supplicants here.” The daughter turned out to be helpful, and Ahmad put her on the list of witnesses to be flown to Brooklyn. A few months later, when the French Army reported capturing Cheibani, Ahmad was uncertain that it was really him. But, she said, “We had his biometrics, from his Bamako arrest. It was one of the most moving moments I’ve felt doing this work.”I had heard from several people that Ahmad has a great rapport with juries. We were back at the Cadman Plaza diner—which, I’d learned, Brooklyn prosecutors call the Perp Diner. She loves New York, and steps lightly through the swelter of an East Village sidewalk. You see that light, and you want to get near it.”After hours, Ahmad likes to sing karaoke at a joint on Avenue A.
We were the same, except he went to temple and I went to mosque.”Zainab’s parents describe her as a cheerful, precocious child. “But the interview process was so cumbersome there, so formal. I need permission from the Embassy, the State Department, the Niger government. Turned out it him.” The French handed Cheibani to the Malians. “She always sings lighthearted, feisty-girl songs,” her friend said.
Nasrin, a tall, smiling woman in her fifties, is the town clerk of Hempstead, which has a population of eight hundred thousand. You’re not after the person, you’re after the truth.’ ”When Ahmad joined the Eastern District, in 2008, she first worked on Brooklyn and Staten Island gang cases, but soon found herself drafted into a terrorism investigation that centered on a plot to blow up fuel tanks and pipelines at John F. The plotters, one of them a former baggage handler, were a motley quartet from Guyana and Trinidad, and the case led to both Iran and Al Qaeda. We couldn’t let him get away.”At the trial of Kadir and Defreitas, in 2010, Miller assigned Ahmad to make the closing argument. “She’s so offhand about it,” the freelance writer said.
She is the first elected official of South Asian extraction in New York State. “You start following a disgruntled baggage handler, a guy who’s mouthing off in Queens,” Ahmad said. She knew the case thoroughly, and had shown poise and fluency in court. has in some ways overtaken its traditional rival, the Southern District, which is based in Manhattan. “She doesn’t let her work hang over her like a pall.
“When I was a kid, even though I had a funny name, and didn’t look like everyone else, it honestly took me a very long time to realize that. Substitute teachers would come, and start to take attendance, and hesitate, because my name was at the top of the class list, Ahmad. “I’d kind of like to go back to a time in America when teachers didn’t know where Pakistan is.”Jamile told me, “When Zainab was little, she wanted to be a receptionist. She had planned to be a hospital administrator, but things went sideways after the September 11th attacks, and she ended up at Columbia Law School, on a full scholarship. Zainab doesn’t come across as a hardboiled, aggressive prosecutor. The investigators moved carefully, placing an informant with Defreitas, but not, at first, asking him to gather evidence with a tape recorder. You need to be able to relate to people from all over the world.”Miller’s team discovered links between Kadir and Mohsen Rabbani, an Iranian diplomat believed to be the mastermind of the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. In their view, the innocent lives lost would be mere collateral damage.”Defreitas had testified that his tape-recorded plans to cause devastation were just empty talk. Terrorism is only one area of transnational crime, but it is easily the most high-profile. When I asked her, at the Perp Diner, about how an American prosecutor “coöperates” a jihadist, she drummed her fingers, shook her head, and finally came up empty.