NEW YORK — The latest on the trial of a U.S. citizen accused of abandoning his birth nation to fight for al-Qaida (all times local):

12:15 p.m.

A defense attorney has asked a New York City jury to remain impartial at a terrorism trial that began a day after the 16th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Muhanad Mahmoud Al Farekh has pleaded not guilty to charges accusing him of joining al-Qaida and participating in an attack on a U.S. military base in Afghanistan.

In opening statements on Tuesday, defense attorney David Ruhnke called his client a “real human being” who deserves a fair trial. He also said the government was relying on testimony from unreliable turncoat terrorists.

The U.S.-born defendant was captured by Pakistan’s security forces in 2014. His case has drawn extra attention because of reports that American officials had debated whether to try to kill him in a drone strike, a step almost never taken against U.S. citizens.


11:40 a.m.

A prosecutor has described a U.S. citizen accused of abandoning his birth nation to fight for al-Qaida as “an American who sought to kill other Americans.”

Prosecutor Saritha Komatireddy made the remark Tuesday at the New York City trial of Muhanad Mahmoud Al Farekh.

The Texas-born Farekh has pleaded not guilty to charges accusing him of joining al-Qaida and participating in an attack on a U.S. military base in Afghanistan.

The defense was to give its opening statement later Tuesday.

The defendant was captured by Pakistan’s security forces in 2014.

His case has drawn extra attention because of reports that American officials had debated whether to try to kill him in a drone strike, a step almost never taken against U.S. citizens.


12:15 a.m.

A U.S. citizen accused of abandoning his birth nation to fight for al-Qaida is being put on trial in New York in a case that hinges partly on fingerprints found on an unexploded bomb.

Muhanad Mahmoud Al Farekh was born in Houston and raised in Dubai. He was captured by Pakistan’s security forces in 2014.

His case has drawn extra attention because of reports American officials had debated whether to try to kill him in a drone strike, a step almost never taken against U.S. citizens.

The administration of President Barack Obama ultimately decided to try for a capture and civilian prosecution instead.

Farehk has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to murder U.S. nationals and other crimes. His trial is scheduled to begin Tuesday.