Live from New York, it's Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

WASHINGTON – In the biggest trial for the age of terrorism, the professed 9/11 mastermind and four alleged henchmen will be hauled before a civilian court on American soil, barely a thousand yards from the site of the World Trade Center’s twin towers they are accused of destroying.

AP story on Yahoo

Trial of the Century. Oughta be one helluva show.

To open the debate, is it possible to seat an impartial jury in New York City? I know if I was defending, I’d want to try it somewhere else. Maybe Hawaii.

My opinion, probably not possible to seat an impartial jury in NYC; but, could you anywhere though for the “mastermind” of 9/11? They will of course ask for a change of venue, it will be denied. Such is life. You’d have to weigh whether you could actually get an impartial jury versus letting the people of NYC getting finality themselves. The people of NY should be the ones to try them. It generally affected them most (of course, that’s the Defendant’s whole argument).

For comparison, the same scenario will happen in Texas with Major Hassan. His change of venue will likely be denied as well for the same reasons.

On the other hand, Timothy McVeigh’s change of venue was granted and moved from Oklahoma to Colorado. Hmmmm…

I applaud the decision to to finally act like Americans and give them real trials. Getting an impartial jury will be problematic, to say the least, but I don’t think any other part of the country would yield any better chances.

I think the prosecution could have some real problems presenting evidence in that a lot of it was obtained from Gitmo prisoners who would have to be brought in from various other prisons in other parts of the world, and cross examined, and then might still clam up or retarct their testimony on the stand, especially the ones who were tortured.

I believe Khalid Mohammed was also waterboarded more than 100 times, and anything obtained by those means would be impermissible.

On the other hand, evidence doesn’t matter, since any jury they face will be a hanging jury.

I think some of the sky is falling demagoguery from the right is hilarious, especially their apparent fear that these guys have mystical superpowers, and that they can slip through walls, or otherwise be able to escape and wreak havoc on New York.

I don’t think Major Hasan will be tried in a Texas court. Didn’t they rule it would be a military trial? Similarly, McVeigh’s trial was federal, not state.

As for Khalid, I think we all know the verdict and sentence barring some sort of earth-shattering revelation, and so does he. Would YOU want to be known as the jury who acquitted him? But for me, it’s like being worried Charles Manson or John Wayne Gacy can’t get a fair trial. I won’t be losing any sleep.

Well maybe you can donate some of that sleep to the defense team. I have a feeling they won’t be getting much of their own.

Your statements are all correct.

Major Hasan won’t be tried in a Texas State or Federal court, but a courts-martial because he is in the military. The venue is currently in Fort Hood (I’m not sure how they divide venues) and will remain there, unless the defense can prove the defendant would be prejudiced by staying. I believe the seated jury has to rank Major or higher (Hasan’s rank and up). In this case, I would expect a general or two. The jury pool will be drawn from that venue. In my opinion, it won’t move though.

Well, without a fair trial why would you assume they actually did what they were accused of?

And yes; the fact that the guy is going to get just a show trial with a predetermined outcome, and that we “know” that he’s guilty because liars and torturers say so does bother me. At this point, I don’t think an honest trial is possible; too many liars and too much torture have tainted the evidence. Maybe he’s guilty; maybe he’s just random Islamist they grabbed and the actual guilty party is off somewhere laughing at us.

Yeah, what could possibly go wrong?

I’ve forgotten my criminal procedure; can KSM request a bench trial (to a judge, rather than a jury) over the prosecution’s objection?

You’ve “forgotten”? Another frickin’ lawyer? I don’t want to alarm anybody, but by my count thats about fifteen self-admitted lawyers on the Boards.

This. It’s sad. It’ll be a kangaroo trial. The show of bringing him to a civilian court for justice, is exactly that: a show.

Reminds me of the Trek episode where they nab Miles O’Brien, the engineer in Deep Space 9 and haul him before a Klingon court. His “defense” lawyer informs him that in a Klingon court you are guilty… “and I must prove myself innocent?!” No. You are guilty, it has already been decided.

Rumors and reports flitting about suggest that he is barking mad. I dread to think what propaganda use our enemies will make of that, if it turns out we tortured him insane.

Of course, may turn out to be “no such thing”, and we didn’t waterboard him one hundred times… That would be great.

(Does he speak English? Other than “Stop! Stop! Please stop!..”)

I think he can, but I’m not sure he should. On the one hand, I think a Judge is more likely to render an impartial verdict. Complicating the analysis is the fact that even an impartial verdict is likely to be guilty. On the other hand, waiving trial by jury in this case may be making things too easy for the prosecution. It only takes one out of twelve to hang a jury in either the guilt or penalty phase of the trial. It’s something the defense team will have to consider…

ETA: This being a death penalty case might mean he can’t waive a jury. I dunno.

That was my first thought. His lawyers cannot possibly want a jury trial – that would be nuts, especially in New York.

There are any number of problems with trying the man in the Southern District of New York. Aside from the issue of putting a jury together, where are they going to hold him before and during the trial? The MCC? I can’t see it. New York does not have, to my knowledge, a maximum-security federal facility (or a maximum security state facility, for that matter, and they can hardly put him in Riker’s Island).

Seems like a change of venue is definitely the way to go here. There’s a District Court in Guam. . .

I would think that having a trial in one of the most liberal cities in the US would be a little more favorable to KSM. If this was in South I think a jury would convict with no more evidence other than the fact that his name is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Manhattan went 80% to John Kerry in 2004. I’m pretty sure the city understands how the government can detain innocent people suspected of terrorism better than any other venue.

Where could he be moved to get a fair trial anyway?

And if I was on that jury (I’m from NYC) I would be pretty pissed off if the prosecution had very little evidence on this guy.

I’m not so sure. I have some personal knowledge of the judges in the Southern District of New York. They’re not exactly tools of the government.


I’m sure there’s a thread for gratuitous cheap shots at the South, but this ain’t it.

The thought of putting KSM on trial apparently has given John Boner the vapors:

I heard AG John Holdren on NPR today saying one of the reasons NYC was chosen was specifically that it does have secure facilities. He said the courthouse was “hardened”, that there was a “hardened” secure holding facility nearby, and a tunnel that links the two so he wouldn’t have to be transported in the open.

I wonder what technically does Boehner imagine will set KSM free? In order for that to happen, first the prosecution has to be incompetent enough to risk putting him on trial when they don’t have enough clean evidence. Second, even if the entire US justice department has a mental breakdown and assigns the case to their worst lawyers, the Judge would have to lose his marbles and issue a bad ruling. Then the Circuit Court and the US Supreme Court would both have to affirm that misguided decision. In other words, most of the US judicial system and the US Justice Department have to royally fuck this one up in order for KSM to go free.

Or he could actually be released because he is innocent. But who wants the US court system to do that?

But forget all that for just a moment. I have a better idea:

Why don’t we just give John Boehner a gun and have him shoot KSM in the back of the head? Who sees a problem with this?