9/11 mastermind lawyer wants new judge out of case as prosecution and defense clash over CIA interrogations


GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba – T9/11 Brain Defense Lawyer Khalid Sheikh Mohammed pleaded Friday for the impeachment of the new judge in his death penalty case as legal teams clashed over what was happening at the black sites of the CIA and that key questions about the torture allegations and confessions remain unresolved.

Air Force Col. Matthew McCall, who took office on Tuesday, is the fourth judge to preside over the 9/11 hearings. McCall served a short stint as a judge last year before being removed from his post for not having two years of military experience on the bench at the time, but he now has the requisite experience.

Gary Sowards, who previously represented Ted Kaczynski, also known as “Unabomber,” and now represents Mohammed, said on Friday that McCall should recuse himself due to a lack of impartiality stemming from the controversy over McCall left the business last year. Sowards said he was initially outraged by McCall’s “poor treatment”, but later learned the judge may have been instrumental in dropping the case. Sowards said the decision was made before Mohammed’s petition was heard and that “it was all done out of court.”

Mohammed, nicknamed “KSM” and described as “the main architect of the 9/11 attacks” in the 9/11 Commission report, was a close ally of Osama bin Laden and is on trial alongside four co-defendants: Ammar Baluchi , Walid ben Attash, Ramzi ben Shibh and Mustafa Hawsawi.


Cheryl Bormann, defense attorney for bin Attash, also objected Friday to McCall presiding over the case, saying that “as far as this matter is concerned … you are not familiar with the case. David Bruck, bin Shibh’s lawyer, joined the objections, and the Hawsawi defense team opposed the proceedings because they learned the lawyer was not present.

Only Baluchi’s defense team approved the judge’s presence in the case, with attorney Jay Connell stating that “the judge’s questioning demonstrated he has an open mind, a willingness to learn and a commitment fairness – that’s all we can ask for. “Clay Trivett, prosecution general counsel, also said,” The government has no challenges.

Mohammed’s lawyer had insisted on McCall on Wednesday for his take on the death penalty.

“I see the death penalty as a valid option for the government. It’s legal. It’s legal, ”McCall said, adding that“ because of the seriousness and purpose ”of a death sentence, its enforcement requires a higher standard.

Mohammed’s lawyer also asked if McCall had “any difficulty in presuming him innocent of these charges”, and McCall said he wondered if he was “really qualified” for the case and if he was. could be “fair” on the case. He said the answer to both questions was yes.

Sowards also asked if McCall would be prepared to hear testimony about “torture”.

“I consider this to be a very complicated area and look forward to being educated about it through lawyers for both sides,” replied the judge.

Mohammed’s attorney said the defense intended to pursue a defense for “scandalous government misconduct” and asked if the judge would let them, and McCall replied: “I intend to allow the no attempt to defend one’s cause.

US Navy Lt. Peter Berg, another lawyer for Mohammed, complained about the lack of detail in much of the information the prosecution provided regarding the terrorist’s interrogations at CIA black sites, saying that information on 803 separate interrogations had been reduced. to 11 pages. Berg said: “We can’t even begin to make these arguments unless we know what Mr. Mohammed was asked, and what Mr. Mohammed said, during those 803 interrogation sessions. “

Trivett noted that there have been 601,150 pages of discovery provided to the defense so far, adding that 20,908 pages relate to CIA interrogation programs, including details of black sites, notes of the Office of the Legal Counsel, photos of the black sites and photos of the accused. in black sites.

“I think the accused is not entitled to any other information,” he said.

The prosecution’s case will be based on phone and bank records, FBI witnesses, photographs and videos of the attacks, and the defendant’s confession, Trivett said.

“At no time will we rely on a statement made by the accused during his CIA detention,” he said.

The government alleges that the men in custody carried out a criminal conspiracy in the planning and execution of the 9/11 plot, listing the names of the 2,977 victims killed, in the 2011 90-page indictment sheet. The five men, who were arrested in 2012, have also been charged with attacks on civilians, hijackings, terrorism, violations of the rules of war, etc.


In the two decades since 19 Al Qaeda terrorists hijacked and crashed planes, killing nearly 3,000 people, the five men believed to be responsible for planning and executing the plot have failed. not yet tried. The key unresolved issue is the admissibility of the confessions obtained by the FBI after the CIA subjected them to “enhanced interrogation techniques” – called “torture” by some.

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Key words: News, 9/11, Guantanamo Bay, Joe Biden, KSM, al-Qaeda

Original author: Jerry dunleavy

Original location: 9/11 mastermind lawyer wants new judge out of case as prosecution and defense clash over CIA interrogations

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