GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba — The protection lawyer for 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed argued Friday for the ouster of the brand new decide in his loss of life penalty case as authorized groups clashed over what went on at CIA black websites and key questions on alleged torture and confessions stay unresolved.
Air Pressure Col. Matthew McCall, who took over as a decide on Tuesday, is the fourth decide to preside over the 9/11 hearings. McCall served a brief stint because the decide final yr earlier than he was eliminated for not having two years of army expertise on the bench on the time, however he now has the requisite expertise.
Gary Sowards, who beforehand represented Ted Kaczynski, also referred to as the “Unabomber,” and now represents Mohammed, mentioned Friday that McCall ought to recuse himself on account of a scarcity of impartiality stemming from the controversy associated to McCall leaving the case final yr. Sowards mentioned he’d initially been outraged over the “shoddy therapy” of McCall however later realized the decide might have had a task in leaving the case. Sowards mentioned the choice was achieved previous to the listening to of a movement from Mohammed and that “all of that was achieved extrajudicially.”
Mohammed, dubbed “KSM” and described as “the principal architect of the 9/11 assaults” within the 9/11 Fee Report, was a detailed ally of Osama bin Laden and is being tried alongside 4 co-defendants: Ammar Baluchi, Walid bin Attash, Ramzi bin Shibh, and Mustafa Hawsawi.
BIDEN WANTS TO SHUT GITMO DOWN, BUT 9/11 TRIAL CONSTRUCTION RAMPS UP
Cheryl Bormann, a protection lawyer for bin Attash, additionally objected Friday to McCall presiding over the case, claiming that “with respect to this case … you’re not acquainted with the file.” David Bruck, the lawyer for bin Shibh, joined the objections, and the protection group for Hawsawi objected to the proceedings as a result of it realized counsel wasn’t current.
Solely the protection group for Baluchi endorsed the decide’s presence on the case, with lawyer Jay Connell saying that “the questioning of the decide demonstrated that he has an open thoughts, a willingness to study, and a dedication of equity — that is all we will ask.” Clay Trivett, the managing trial counsel for the prosecution, additionally mentioned, “The federal government has no problem.”
Mohammed’s lawyer had pressed McCall over his views on the loss of life penalty on Wednesday.
“I see the loss of life penalty as being a sound choice for the federal government. It is lawful. It is authorized,” McCall mentioned, including that “due to the seriousness and the finality” of a sentence loss of life sentence, its software requires a better normal.
Mohammed’s lawyer additionally requested whether or not McCall has “any problem presuming him harmless of those prices,” and McCall mentioned that he had requested himself whether or not he was “actually certified” for the case and whether or not he may very well be “truthful” on the case. He mentioned the reply to each questions was sure.
Sowards additionally requested whether or not McCall could be prepared to entertain testimony about “torture.”
“I see it as being a really sophisticated space, and I look ahead to getting educated on it by way of counsel for each side,” the decide replied.
Mohammed’s lawyer mentioned the protection meant to pursue an “outrageous governmental misconduct” protection and requested if the decide would allow them to try this, and McCall answered, “I intend to permit protection to attempt to make their case.”
U.S. Navy Lt. Peter Berg, one other lawyer for Mohammed, complained concerning the lack of element in a lot of the data that the prosecution had turned over associated to the terrorist’s interrogations at CIA black websites, saying that data on 803 separate interrogations had been narrowed all the way down to 11 pages. Berg mentioned, “We can not even start to make these arguments until we all know what Mr. Mohammed was requested, and what Mr. Mohammed mentioned, in these 803 interrogation periods.”
Trivett famous that there had been 601,150 pages of discovery offered to the protection to date, including that 20,908 pages relate to the CIA’s interrogation applications, together with black web site particulars, Workplace of Authorized Counsel memos, pictures of the black websites, and pictures of the accused within the black websites.
“I imagine that the defendant is entitled to no additional data,” he mentioned.
The prosecution’s case will depend on telephone and financial institution data, FBI witnesses, images and video of the assaults, and admissions from the accused, Trivett mentioned.
“At no level are we ever going to be counting on any assertion made by the accused whereas in CIA custody,” he mentioned.
The federal government alleges that the lads in custody carried out a felony conspiracy in planning and executing the 9/11 plot, itemizing the names of all 2,977 victims killed, within the 90-page 2011 charging sheet. The 5 males, who had been arraigned in 2012, had been additionally charged with attacking civilians, hijacking, terrorism, violations of the principles of warfare, and extra.
Within the twenty years since 19 al Qaeda terrorists hijacked and crashed planes killing practically 3,000 individuals, the 5 males believed to be liable for the planning and execution of the plot have but to face trial . The important thing unresolved query is the admissibility of confessions obtained by the FBI after the CIA subjected them to “enhanced interrogation strategies” — known as “torture” by some.