Federal grand jury hearing evidence about terrorist attacks

Tuesday, September 18, 2001


Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- A federal grand jury has been convened to investigate the terrorist attack that destroyed the World Trade Center, The Associated Press has learned.

The grand jury was convened in White Plains, a suburb north of New York, and will review evidence and issue subpoenas, according to a law enforcement source who spoke Tuesday on condition of anonymity.

White Plains is part of the federal court system's Southern District of New York, which is based in Manhattan. But the Manhattan courthouse is closed because of the devastation at the Trade Center a few blocks away.

It was not immediately clear whether the grand jury would also investigate the terrorist attack against the Pentagon, and the hijacking that ended in a crash in Shanksville, Pa.

The Southern District, headed by U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White, has historically led all investigations related to Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect in the attacks.

Marvin Smilon, a spokesman for White, had no comment Tuesday.

The investigation of the attacks has stretched from Florida to California and overseas, and tracked the movements of the men suspected of hijacking and crashing the four airliners.

Acting on 47,000 potential leads, authorities have detained 49 people for questioning or on immigration violations, and as many as 200 others are wanted for questioning.

The FBI is keeping a tight hold on its witnesses, jailing an unspecified number of them to keep them from fleeing. Courts have sealed all information about those arrested.

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