Upstate Mayor Wants Terror Trial - NBC New York

Upstate Mayor Wants Terror Trial



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    Newburgh Mayor Nicholas Valentine is pushing government officials to move the 9/11 terror trials to his small upstate NY city.

    The Mayor of Newburgh -- a small city 60 miles north of Manhattan -- is pushing to have the Sept. 11 terrorist trials moved upstate as a way to bring attention to his city.

    But not everyone is happy about Mayor Nicholas Valentine's campaigning for the controversial trial.

    “I am dismayed that anyone would suggest that Orange County bear the burden for this trial,” said Orange county Executive
    Edward A. Diana, in a statement released Friday. “Fourty-four Orange County  residents lost their lives on that most horrific day and to bring these monsters to Orange County is an insult to our residents."

    Diana also said that the city's location close to West Point and the 105th National Guard would make the area more of a target for terrorist attacks, and said he would seek any and all legal action available to him to prevent the trials from being held in Orange County.

    Mayor Valentine, though, says Newburgh is an ideal location, noting the city's new courthouse, which went under a $22-million dollar renovation a year ago.  It meets all of the secuirty requirements needed for a federal trial of this magnitude.  

    He is hoping that in exchange for hosting the trials, his city would receive some sort of "stimulus package" that could
    improve the city's Police Department and fund more youth programs. In terms of security, Mayor Valentine said he spoke with the
    head of his Police Department who promised the mayor he'd take "every measure to make sure all residents are safe while this is
    going on."

    Local residents and workers in Newburgh were split on the Mayor's plans.

    A worker at Jimmy's Pizzeria, which is on the same street as the courthouse, liked the idea of putting Newburgh "on the map".  He did recognize that, since it's a terrorist trial, it "wouldn't be good publicity."

    Regina Dickerson thought it would be "an excellent idea" to host the trials in her hometown.  And just outside the pizzeria Susana Merced, felt it would be a good idea,  "but not at the expense of people's lives".

    The trials were set to be held in lower Manhattan, but the  White House and the Justice Department are reconsidering after vocal opposition from a wide array of powerful politicianas.