U.S. bomb plotter questioned in Germany's trial of 9/11 suspect


- "CNN.com/Law center"
Thursday, December 19, 2002 Posted: 1900 GMT

SEATTLE, Washington (CNN) -- The trial of a suspected Hamburg al Qaeda operative briefly moved to Seattle this week, as German authorities Wednesday finished questioning a man in U.S. custody for plotting a millennium bomb attack, according to a German attorney.

Ahmed Ressam was helpful in shedding light on how the terror network operates, German attorney Ulrich von Jeinsen said.

The entire German court traveled to Seattle from Hamburg for Ressam's deposition, which took place in a federal courtroom on Tuesday and Wednesday. U.S. lawyers and FBI agents were also present.

The questioning took place as part of the trial against Mounir El Motassadeq, a 28-year-old Moroccan man linked to an al Qaeda terrorist cell in Hamburg.

Motassadeq has been charged by German authorities with helping in the murder of 3,116 people on September 11, 2001, and of having membership in a terrorist organization.

His trial is expected to wrap up next month.

Ressam, 34, has been convicted of conspiracy to detonate a suitcase bomb at Los Angeles International Airport on New Year's Eve of 1999, the last day before the new millennium.

The plot unraveled when U.S. Customs agents stopped him on December 14, 1999, as he came across the U.S.-Canadian border into Washington state with a trunk filled with explosives and timing devices.

Ressam is currently being held in the SeaTac Federal Detention Center, awaiting sentencing.

CNN's Kristen Fraser contributed to this report.