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Jury selection begins in terrorism-finance case

MIAMI — Jury selection began Wednesday in the trial of an elderly Muslim cleric and his son on charges they funneled tens of thousands of dollars to the Pakistani Taliban terrorist organization, which has targeted U.S. interests with violence in this country and overseas.

Prospective jurors were handed detailed four-page questionnaires to fill out in the case of Hafiz Khan, 77, and his son, Izhar Khan, 26. The elder Khan was imam at a Miami mosque, and his son held the same post at a mosque in suburban Margate.

Both have pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy and material support to terrorism. Each count carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years. Charges were dismissed last year against another son, Irfan Khan, against whom prosecutors had far less evidence.

U.S. District Judge Robert Scola said the trial could last up to nine weeks. He told jurors to pay particular attention to the written questions about their ability to be fair in a terrorism case, which can stoke strong emotions because of U.S. involvement in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

From wire dispatches and staff reports