He's no longer charged with planting or even thinking about planting a dirty bomb. The charges he finally faces - after years of solitary confinement, sensory deprivation, vershaerfte Vernehmung - are based in large part on wiretapped phone conversations whose meanings seem ambiguous. Recall this:
Mr. Padilla, an American convert to Islam who was named an enemy combatant after his arrest in 2002, has the highest profile of the three but has not figured prominently in arguments over the calls.
That is because his voice is heard on only seven of the 300,000 or so calls that the F.B.I. recorded from 1994 to 2001. The government added his case to those of Mr. Hassoun and Mr. Jayyousi only after transferring him to civilian custody last year, as the Supreme Court considered taking up the legality of his military detention.
I can only hope that, finally, he is getting a fair trial. I'm not there, but testimony such as this does not exactly reflect well on the government:
Earlier Monday, the jury heard from Herbert Atwell, a former convict who said he attended a mosque in Broward County with Mr. Hassoun and Mr. Padilla in the 1990s. He said Mr. Padilla had been very quiet and carried a Spanish-language Koran, while Mr. Hassoun gave fiery speeches about the importance of "raising money for mujahedeen fighters all over the world."
But, in testimony that could paradoxically help the defense, Mr. Atwell said he had never perceived Mr. Hassoun to support terrorism or "mujahedeen fighters" to be terrorists. He said he believed they were "defending Muslims under attack."