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LONDON: Two terrorists of British origin being tried in the US for their affiliation and actions with Daesh in Syria are assembling a group of world-famous lawyers to represent them in their upcoming legal battle.
El Shafee Elsheikh, 32, and Alexanda Kotey, 36, dubbed the “Beatles” due to their British connection, have hired lawyers who represented actress Rose McGowan, the first public accuser of disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein.
The accused, who have been stripped of their British citizenship since their capture in Syria in 2018, were secretly flown from an American military base to the US. They have recently appeared via videolink in a Virginian court for the start of legal proceedings, where they pleaded not guilty to eight charges relating to the torture and murder of Western hostages.
Their star-studded legal team includes lawyers who defended American archbishop Theodore McCarrick, who was defrocked by Pope Francis after a Vatican investigation found him guilty of sexually abusing a 16-year-old boy. 
Another solicitor set to defend the Daesh duo is Jessica Carmichael, who last year took up the case of a US police officer who became an Daesh supporter. Carmichael also represented McGowan in her iconic #MeToo case. 
Elsheikh, however, is expected to rely most heavily on the expertise of Edward B MacMahon, a defense attorney who has represented several terrorists tried in the US. His past clients include Walid bin Attash, who he defended in Guantanamo Bay after he was involved in the planning of the 9/11 attacks.
MacMahon has also defended British national Zacarias Moussaoui, dubbed the “20th hijacker” in the 9/11 atrocities. 
Moussaoui, who studied in London before his terroristic activities, was spared the death penalty following his trial in a Virginia court, the same one where Elsheikh and Kotey will be tried.
Like Moussaoui, the so-called “Beatles” will not face the death penalty after the US Attorney-General William Barr assured the British domestic security service MI5 it was off the table in exchange for intelligence used in court.

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