Cuomo Opposes Holding 9/11 Trials in Manhattan

AG Eric Holder says that a decision may be made in weeks

Thursday, Nov 11, 2010  |  Updated 9:37 AM EDT
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Cuomo Opposes Holding 9/11 Trials in Manhattan

AP

** FILE ** In this file photo from March 1, 2003 obtained by the Associated Press, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged Sept. 11 mastermind, is seen shortly after his capture during a raid in Pakistan. The mothers of two men killed in the Sept. 11 attacks are traveling to Guantanamo Bay and will be among spectators Monday Dec. 8, 2008 at a pretrial hearing for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other alleged 9/11 plotters. (AP Photo, File)

Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo says he's against trying the professed mastermind of the Sept. 11 terror attacks in New York.

He addressed the matter in a radio interview Thursday, a day after Attorney General Eric Holder said the Obama administration was close to deciding where to prosecute Khalid Sheik Mohammed.

Earlier this year, Holder testified before a House Appropriations subcommittee that the decision on where to try Sheikh Mohammed and four others.

"I think that we are weeks away from making that determination,” he said. “I don’t think we’re talking about months.”

Holder announced last November that the five would be prosecuted in a Manhattan federal court in a civilian trial, which was initially supported by city officials. But estimates of cost and security and logistical concerns, coupled with the attempted Christmas Day airline bombing, heightened the opposition.

Mayor Bloomberg, who originally called the trials in Manhattan “fitting,” said that the security for the trials could cost $1 billion.

“It’s going to cost an awful lot of money and disturb an awful lot of people,” Mr. Bloomberg later said. “My hope is that the attorney general and the president decide to change their mind.”

Republican South Carolina senator Lindsay Graham urges the Obama administration to hold the trials in a military tribunal.

"These Al-Qaeda terrorists are not common criminals,'' he said in his weekly radio and Internet address. "A civilian trial of hard-core terrorists is unnecessarily dangerous and creates more problems than it solves.''

Since the initial announcement, Holder has continued to stand by holding the trials in Manhattan, but said reviews are part of the process.

“We need not cower in the face of this enemy,” he said, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in November. “Our institutions are strong, our infrastructure is ready, our resolve is firm, and our people are ready.”

On Jan. 29, the announcement was made that the Obama administration would drop the plan, and the debate has waged on ever since.
 

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