Politics|Judge astatine Guantánamo Says 9/11 Trial Start is astatine Least a Year Away
The justice acceptable retired the timeline portion rejecting 2 defence challenges that helium was unqualified and should suspend the proceedings until helium was up to speed.
Sept. 13, 2021, 11:11 a.m. ET
FORT MEADE, Md — The caller justice presiding successful the Sept. 11, 2001 case astatine Guantánamo Bay said connected Monday that the proceedings of the 5 men accused of plotting the attacks volition not statesman for astatine slightest different year.
The judge, Col. Matthew N. McCall, who took implicit the lawsuit past month, was holding his 2nd week of pretrial hearings astatine the United States naval basal astatine Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, aft a hold of much than a twelvemonth and half caused by the pandemic.
The timeline acceptable by the justice connected Monday would mean the proceedings of the 5 men, including the accused mastermind of the plot, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, would not get underway until much than 21 years aft hijacked jetliners crashed into the duplicate towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a tract successful Shanksville, Penn.
Colonel McCall was ruling connected objections by defence lawyers for 2 of the defendants, Walid bin Attash and Ramzi bin al-Shibh. The lawyers questioned his qualifications to preside successful a death-penalty lawsuit due to the fact that helium had not work the filings and tribunal grounds stretching backmost to the arraignment of the defendants successful May 2012, including the 33,660-page transcript.
They urged him to suspend proceedings until helium was decently trained arsenic good arsenic afloat acquainted with the rulings by 3 erstwhile judges successful the case.
The justice replied that helium had ample time, and a plan, to get up to speed, including taking a National Judicial College course connected however to grip superior cases. Because of the pandemic, helium volition beryllium taking it online, helium said.
“At a minimum we are slightest 1 twelvemonth distant from trial,” said Colonel McCall, an Air Force colonel. He declared himself qualified by subject committee regulations, Air Force barroom and ethical obligations and “not bound by a peculiar timeline to get to trial.”
Colonel McCall is the 4th justice to preside astatine the Guantánamo tribunal successful the conspiracy lawsuit against Mr. Mohammed and the 4 different men who are accused of helping to crippled the hijackings that killed astir 3,000 radical successful New York, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon 20 years ago.
He has been a subject justice for conscionable 2 years, and was precocious promoted to colonel, making him the youngest and least experienced of the judges who person overseen the case.
Cheryl Bormann, the lawyer for Mr. Bin Attash, urged the justice past week to suspend the proceedings until helium completed the people and was afloat acquainted with the 3 erstwhile judges rulings arsenic a baseline for moving forward.
Instead, the justice said, helium had developed a program to larn arsenic helium went along, including holding meetings separately with each idiosyncratic defence squad and besides with the prosecutors truthful they could capable him successful connected classified accusation filings. Because it is simply a nationalist information case, the justice is entrusted with making definite that prosecution decisions connected what grounds tin beryllium provided to the defence lawyers — and what accusation is withheld oregon redacted — does not disadvantage the defence astatine trial.
An earlier justice had acceptable a timetable to starting the proceedings successful January of this year. But that program has agelong since been shelved. At a minimum, based connected the judge’s comments, assemblage enactment would not statesman until aft the 21st day of the attacks.