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January 30, 2010

Terror trials appear headed out of NYC, but to where...?

I was hoping that a fringe benefit of being a visiting professor at Fordham Law School this semester was going to be a chance to head to downtown Manhattan to watch some of the early legal action in the planned criminal trials of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four other accused Sept. 11 plotters.   However, as explained in this article in today's New York Times, which is headlined "U.S. Drops Plan for a 9/11 Trial in New York City," it looks like these trial are heading out of NYC:

The Obama administration on Friday gave up on its plan to try the Sept. 11 plotters in Lower Manhattan, bowing to almost unanimous pressure from New York officials and business leaders to move the terrorism trial elsewhere. “I think I can acknowledge the obvious,” an administration official said. “We’re considering other options.”

The reversal on whether to try the alleged 9/11 terrorists blocks from the former World Trade Center site seemed to come suddenly this week, after Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg abandoned his strong support for the plan and said the cost and disruption would be too great. But behind the brave face that many New Yorkers had put on for weeks, resistance had been gathering steam....

[I]n a series of presentations to business leaders, local elected officials and community representatives of Chinatown, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly laid out his plan for securing the trial: blanketing a swath of Lower Manhattan with police checkpoints, vehicle searches, rooftop snipers and canine patrols. “They were not received well,” said one city official.

And on Tuesday, in a meeting Mr. Bloomberg had with at least two dozen federal judges on the eighth floor of their Manhattan courthouse, one judge raised the question of security. The mayor, according to several people present, said he was sure the courthouse could be made safe, but that it would be costly and difficult.

The next day, the mayor, who back in November had hailed the idea of trying Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four other accused Sept. 11 plotters in the heart of downtown Manhattan, made clear he’d changed his mind.

The Obama administration official said the decision to back out of plans for a New York trial had broad support but had not yet been made public.

I wonder if it would be legally and administratively possible to create a viable make-shift federal court facility in the middle of Pennsylvania where United Flight 93 crashed.  I personally think it would be legally appropriate and symbolically fitting for those involved in the 9/11 attack to be tried (and, in my hope, convicted and sentenced to die) around the location of where Flight 93 crashed.

January 30, 2010 at 11:42 AM | Permalink


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$100 million tab. That is the real aim.

He should be tortured, not for information, but to make him suffer a long time. Then he should watch his family have their throats slit. Then he should be hanged. No trial is necessary nor legally required. This seeming cruelty is really respect for his culture, and politically correct.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 30, 2010 4:37:32 PM

Holder's colossal and reckless blunder is unraveling.

Posted by: mjs | Jan 30, 2010 8:26:47 PM

mjs --

Fortunately there are still some career people at the Justice Department, David Margolis in particular, who have integrity no matter how much heat they know they'll be taking for it.

See my entries on Crime and Consequences here, http://www.crimeandconsequences.com/crimblog/2010/01/yoo-and-bybee-cleared-of-profe.html

and here: http://www.crimeandconsequences.com/crimblog/2010/01/yoo-and-bybee-cleared-part-ii.html

BTW, responses made to my entries on C&C (for which I am now a blogger, along with Kent Scheidegger) are sent to my home e-mail.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 31, 2010 1:42:03 PM

Regarding the legality of your proposal for creating a "make-shift federal court facility in the middle of Pennsylvania where United Flight 93 crashed": Is this not a violation of the spirit if not the letter of the rule jus de non evocando (against removal of trial to special, rather than regularly existing criminal courts)?

Posted by: Patrick S. O'Donnell | Feb 1, 2010 7:02:19 PM

Are not there already federal courts in Pennsylvania. I know it is a lawless territory, but I believe that some federal judges have bravely established courthouses. But this is just a rumor.

Posted by: S.cotus | Feb 2, 2010 8:51:10 AM

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