The rise of the hometown boy
Judge Kaplan is New York born and bred, raised in the borough of Staten Island.
He received his legal qualifications from Harvard Law School before he was nominated to a seat on the US District Court for the Southern District of New York by Bill Clinton, the former US president, in 1994. He has received several awards for his work in the legal profession.
In his 27 years on the court, he has overseen a litany of high-profile cases, including the trial of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian-born member of al-Qaeda who was the first person from Guantanamo Bay to receive a civilian trial.
Judge Kaplan sentenced Ghailani to life in prison for his role in the 1998 US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed more than 200 people.
During the trial, Judge Kaplan said that any suffering Ghailani experienced at the hands of CIA operatives at Guantanamo Bay, where he was held after his arrest in 2004, paled in comparison to the suffering of those killed and injured in the dual bombings.
The “horrific” nature of the attacks far outweighed “any and all considerations that have been advanced on behalf of the defendant” he said at the time.