9/11 Families Protest Holding Terror Trials in NYC

By Glenn Zimmerman
|  Saturday, Dec 5, 2009  |  Updated 3:51 PM EDT
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9/11 Families Protest Holding Terror Trials in NYC

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An aerial view shows Ground Zero, September 22, 2001

Anger, frustration and pain were on display as group of 9/11 families and several hundred of  their supporters rallied in the rain in front of Manhattan's federal courthouse to protest the plan to put terrorism suspects on trial in New York.

Demonstrators at the Saturday event included the actor Brian Dennehy and a number of people who lost friends and relatives in the 9/11 attacks.

One person held up a sign calling Attorney General Eric Holder "disgraceful and despicable."

"I don't want any trial held on my son's ashes," said Delores Ladley, who son James, 41, worked for Cantor Fitzgerald.

Accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other alleged co-conspirators are expected to be tried in New York, only blocks from where the towers came down. But opponents of the plan say a New York trial could again make the city a terrorism target, and that the five suspects should instead face a military tribunal.

Addressing the crowd, Dennehy passed along a message from the father of murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who is opposed to a public trial for reputed terror mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed.

The actor said he also believed the trial would be "an uncalled-for ordeal that could be used for political purposes."

"This will provide the radicals with a huge forum," said Dennehy, a Marine Corps veteran. "Why should they have the normal constitutional protections?"

Attacks survivor Phyllis Borgo said it was "an insult to New Yorkers and an insult to the world that we would give them a voice -- terrorists who killed us."

Borgo worked in the trade center and lost 176 colleagues.  Almost everyone in the crowd had lost someone, so the emotions go beyond politics.

But other victims of the 9/11 attacks disagree.

Lorie Van Auken lost her husband at the World Trade Center. She says its fitting that the accused answer charges a short walk from ground zero.

And U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler says military commissions have a poor track record when it comes to trying terrorism suspects.

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