Abu Hamza’s U.S. trial to start next year

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The terror trial of radical British preacher Abu Hamza will start March 31 next year, the US judge presiding over his case since he was extradited last year said Thursday.

Judge Katherine Forrest had initially scheduled the trial for this summer, but said the long delay appeared necessary because of the vast amount of discovery material lawyers have to pour over, including many of the sermons Abu Hamza made at mosques in Britain.

Forrest said the trial will run up to eight weeks.

The postponement followed repeated complaints by defense lawyers that they have been inundated with discovery material gathered by the prosecution, much of it requiring translation from Arabic.

Forrest said she was setting the later date “in light of the uncertainties of the discovery.”

“It’s a big case. It’s bigger, I think, in the magnitude of the material than we discussed,” she said.

Forrest also ordered defense and prosecution lawyers to agree within a week on the terms of a request to prison authorities for allowing Abu Hamza to have limited use of a computer while in remand. He has no hands and requires special technology.

Abu Hamza, who is also missing one eye, is being prosecuted under his birth name Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, rather than his better known moniker from his days in Britain.

He pleaded not guilty last year to 11 terror charges, including conspiring to set up an Al-Qaeda-style training camp on American soil and abducting tourists in Yemen.