Saddam Hussein's chief lawyer warned of worsening violence in Iraq and chaos across the Mideast if the ex-president is sentenced to death at his trial for a crackdown on a Shiite Muslim village in the 1980s.
Khalil al-Dulaimi also said he would break a month-long boycott and attend proceedings on Monday when Saddam's second trial resumes on separate charges of genocide against the Kurds.
A verdict in Saddam's first trial is expected November 5. He and seven others are charged with crimes against humanity in connection with the killing of 148 Shiites from Dujail after a 1982 assassination attempt against him.
Conviction carries a maximum penalty of death by hanging, but can be appealed to a higher court.
Meanwhile, the US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, denied speculation that the timing of the verdict was set to coincide with midterm elections in the United States.
"That decision was made by the Iraqi judges," he told CNN yesterday regarding the date the verdict is scheduled to be announced -- two days ahead of the elections.
The United States assists the court with logistics and security, Khalilizad said, "But we don't determine the date for holding the meetings or the trial or the date for making the decision or announcing the decision with regard to Saddam Hussein."