First Gitmo Trial Results in Life Sentence

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The first Guantanamo Bay detainee to stand trial in an American civilian court will spend the rest of his life in prison.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan said 36-year-old Ahmed Ghailani's "horrific" attacks are far greater than "any and all considerations that have been advanced on behalf of the defendant."

The defense tried to convince Kaplan that Ghailani deserved leniency because he didn't have firsthand knowledge of the scheme.

Ghailani was convicted late last year of conspiring to destroy government buildings, but acquitted of more than 200 counts of murder associated with an al Qaeda attack on two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998.

"It was a cold-blooded killing and maiming of innocent people on an enormous scale. It wrecked the lives of thousands more... who had their lives changed forever," Kaplan said. The purpose of the crime was to create terror by causing death and destruction on a scale that was hard to imagine in 1998 when it occurred."

Evidence at trial showed that Ghailani helped purchase bomb components prior to the attacks, along with one of the bomb vehicles.

The judge also ordered Ghailani to pay a $33 million fine for damages.

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