New Yorkers Support Death Penalty for 9/11 Thugs: Poll - NBC New York

New Yorkers Support Death Penalty for 9/11 Thugs: Poll

Lawyer said they intend to plead guilty



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    An overwhelming majority of New Yorkers want the alleged 9/11 masterminds sentenced to death after their trials in Manhattan, a published report said today.

    An exclusive Daily News/Marist poll found that 77% of New Yorkers agree with President Obama that alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and his four cohorts will be found guilty in a Manhattan federal courtroom -- and they say they should be put to death.

    The poll also found that a vast majority of people would not be afraid to serve on the jury.  The survey of 811 city residents was conducted Wednesday and Thursday by The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion for The News.

    The results come less than a week after another Marist poll found that 45% of residents think it’s a good idea to have the trial in New York City while 41% believe it’s a bad one.  The remaining 14% just aren’t sure.

    When it comes to their personal safety, 52 percent of New York City residents don’t think it will impact their own security while 34% think the trial will compromise their personal safety and put them in greater danger. Another 8% report it will put them in less danger -- perhaps because of the added security feds have promised ahead of the start of the trial.

    Politicians have come down on both sides of the Justice Department's decision to hold the trials in civilian court.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Mayor Michael Bloomberg support it.  Gov. David Paterson and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani have blasted the move, saying it puts the city at undue risk.

    Meantime, the five men facing trial will plead not guilty so that they can air their criticisms of U.S. foreign policy, the lawyer for one of the defendants said Sunday.
    Scott Fenstermaker, the lawyer for accused terrorist Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, said the men would not deny their role in the 2001 attacks but "would explain what happened and why they did it.''
    The U.S. Justice Department announced earlier this month that Ali and four other men accused of murdering nearly 3,000 people in the nation's deadliest terrorist attack will face a civilian federal trial just blocks from the World Trade Center site.
    Ali, also known as Ammar al-Baluchi, is a nephew of professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
    Mohammed, Ali and the others will explain ``their assessment of American foreign policy," Fenstermaker said.
    "Their assessment is negative," he said.

    Fenstermaker met with Ali last week at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. He has not spoken with the others but said the men have discussed the trial among themselves.