Taking his Chances

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: Apparently, Hani Al-Sayegh would rather take his chances with the U.S. judicial system than risk possible execution in Saudi Arabia. The suspect in the July 1996 Khobar towers bombing that killed 19 U.S. airmen abruptly dismissed a tentative plea bargain agreement today, pleading not guilty to charges he was an accomplice in the attack. Al-Sayegh had agreed to tell investigators all he knew about the bombing in return for being indicted on one conspiracy count. Although neither side is talking, the speculation is that talks broke down late Monday over the government's refusal to guarantee that Al-Sayegh would not be deported. Frank Carter, Al-Sayegh's attorney, says the feds have no case and threatened deportation to intimidate him into taking a plea. "The government has no documentary evidence of anything involving him in this crime or any other crime," Carter said. Until Al-Sayegh goes on trial, that remains to be seen.