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SAUDI PLEAS INNOCENT IN TERRORIST PLOT

A Saudi dissident pleaded innocent today to plotting to kill Americans in his homeland as his attorney said an earlier agreement to plead guilty was invalid.

During a 22-minute hearing before U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, Hani al-Sayegh said only "not guilty." Sullivan set trial for Nov. 3.

Al-Sayegh, a Shiite Muslim who was involved in political protest against the Saudi ruling family, was brought here from Canada in early June after reaching a deal there with U.S. prosecutors.

Government officials have said the deal called for him to tell everything he knew about last summer's bombing that killed 19 U.S. airmen at the Khobar Towers housing complex near Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

In return, he was indicted on one count charging a 1994-95 conspiracy -- never carried out -- to kill Americans in the desert kingdom. The agreement called for al-Sayegh to plead guilty.

The Saudis have identified him as the driver of a car that signaled when a truck carrying a bomb should pull up beside Khobar Towers for the 1996 attack.

After al-Sayegh pleaded innocent, prosecutor Eric Dubelier told the court the government considered that "the plea agreement has been breached. One of our remedies is to try the case, and at least today that's what we intend to do."

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