September 11 Terror Trials Will Not Be Held in Manhattan
Monday, April 04, 2011
The accused mastermind behind the September 11 terror attacks and his alleged co-conspirators will not be tried at a federal courthouse in Lower Manhattan and will instead face a military court at Guantanamo Bay.
Attorney General Eric Holder announced Monday that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the accused terror attack mastermind, and four additional suspects will not face trial in civilian court just blocks from the World Trade Center and will instead be tried in a system of military commissions.
The victims' families have sought justice for nearly a decade, and "it must not be delayed any longer," Holder said Monday.
The Obama administration that was roundly criticized by politicians, victims' family members and those who feared the trial posed a significant security risk when it announced plans to hold the trial in New York City in November 2009.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who initially supporting having the trial in New York, since reversed his support. He said Monday that he supported the decision to move the trials out of Manhattan.
"While we would have provided the security if we had to here in New York City, being spared the expense is good for us," Bloomberg said. "I happen to think that it's probably more appropriate to do it in a secure area with a military tribunal. ... From what I've read about military tribunals, they are a different form of legal system, but something that this country can implement and not be ashamed of it."
Community leader Julie Menin, chair of Community Board 1, said she is relieved the trial will not be held in her district, but she's disappointed with the administrations decision and questions the legality of a trial in Guantanamo.
"I'm very happy that this trial is not being held in our community," she said. "This is a huge win for Lower Manhattan. We had the courage to stand up to Washington and say, 'Your plan does not make any sense, and we're not going to allow it to happen in our neighborhood.'"
With reporting by Stephen Nessen and Brian Zumhagen