Feb. 3, 2010— -- A New York jury convicted the so-called "Lady Qaeda" today of trying to kill U.S. soldiers and FBI agents and the MIT-trained neuroscientist ended her often raucous trial the way she began it, yelling at the jurors and shouting to the spectators.
Aafia Siddiqui threw up her arms after the jury found her guilty of attempted murder and heckled the jurors as they left the court room, shouting "This is a verdict coming from Israel, not America."
Siddiqui, 37, then turned toward spectators in the packed courtroom and said, "Your anger should be directed where it belongs. I can testify to this and I have proof."
Siddiqui's three week trial in a Manhattan federal courtroom was repeatedly interrupted by her outbursts which were frequently anti-Semitic rants or delusional theories. She was twice removed from her own trial by U.S. marshals.
The jury deliberated for three days before finding the U.S.-educated Pakistani mother of three guilty of attempted murder, armed assault, using and carrying a firearm, and assault of U.S. officers and employees.
Though never charged with terrorism, U.S. authorities say Siddiqui was an Al Qaeda sympathizer who was arrested in Afghanistan in 2008 carrying plans for a "mass casualty attack" on New York City landmarks including the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Prosecutors said that while being held for questioning at an Afghan police station in July 2008, she grabbed an unattended rifle, shouted "Allah Akbar," and fired two rounds at a U.S. soldiers and FBI agents before being shot in return.
Siddiqui denied the charges. "It's just ridiculous… I never attempted murder, no way. It's a heavy word," Siddiqui, said while on the stand while on the witness stand last week.
Her lawyers told jurors there was no ballistic, fingerprint or other physical evidence proving the weapon was "touched by Dr. Siddiqui, let alone fired by her."
A petite woman who kept all but her eyes hidden behind a white headscarf and veil, Siddiqui fought with her own lawyers to testify in her own defense. Her defense team told the court that Siddiqui was "driven by her severe mental illness" and feared she would incriminate herself. Prosecutors argued she was more cagey than crazy and should not be denied the right to defend herself if she chose.