U.S.-born al Qaeda suspect appears in federal court

One day after the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, a U.S. citizen accused of fighting for al Qaeda had his day in federal court. Prosecutors are linking him to a bombing in Afghanistan.

American-born Muhanad Mahmoud al Farekh, 31, was reportedly on a Pentagon kill list. But after Farekh was captured in Pakistan in 2015, the Obama administration allowed him to be tried in federal court in Brooklyn.

Mahmoud was in court Tuesday for opening statements in his trial on terrorism conspiracy and other charges.

Federal prosecutors from the Eastern District are trying to put him behind bars for life. The government alleges that as an active member of al Qaeda, he participated in an attack on a military base in Afghanistan, giving material support to the terror organization, and that he plotted to kill Americans. In court papers, prosecutors said they have forensic evidence tying him to the 2009 bombing that injured several Afghan nationals.

The Houston-born suspect is pleading not guilty to all the charges. He has three court-appointed attorneys who asked the jury of six men and six women to treat him as a human being.

The trial is expected to take about two weeks. If convicted on the most serious charge, he could be facing life in prison.