Jury selection started Wednesday September 29th and today the trial in chief, expected to start Monday, was tentatively postponed until next Wednesday pending determination of admissibility of evidence and testimony from an important prosecution witness, Hussein Abebe. From Bloomberg:
The federal judge presiding over the trial of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian charged with taking part in the bombing of two American embassies in Africa, delayed the case by two days until Oct. 6.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in New York today granted a prosecution request to postpone the trial, for which jury selection started Sept. 29. Kaplan said he may grant a delay if he rules a key prosecution witness, Hussein Abebe, can’t testify. The adjournment would give the government time to appeal that ruling before the trial.
Prosecutors want to call Abebe, 46, a Tanzanian who is former miner, to testify that he sold five crates of dynamite to Ghailani before the blast. He would provide a first-hand account of Ghailani’s role in the attacks, the government says.
Abebe, who hasn’t been charged, is a “giant” witness, according to prosecutors. The judge said earlier he may not decide until after opening arguments whether the jury should hear Abebe’s testimony.
Ghailani’s lawyers argue that Abebe’s testimony should be excluded because the government learned of his involvement through a coercive interrogation of Ghailani by the CIA. Abebe also was coerced into cooperating with authorities, according to the defense attorneys, led by Peter Quijano and Steve Zissou.
Motions in limine and other evidentiary motions are always at issue in big criminal trials and brief delays and provision for interlocutory appeals are certainly common. So, what you see here is another criminal trial. Ho hum and yawn. Certainly not the unholy hell Baby Dick Cheney, Rudy 9/11 and the other cowering fearmongers predicted is it? The attached video from Human Rights First sums it up perfectly. Here is Human Rights First’s press release on the issue:
Despite repeated warnings that trying Guantanamo detainees in New York would result in chaos, mayhem, kidnappings, astronomical security costs, a police take-over of Lower Manhattan, snarled traffic, street closures, and “utter, unmitigated disaster,” New Yorkers interviewed by Human Rights First are going about their daily business within blocks of the federal terrorism trial of a former Guantanamo detainee.
In an exclusive video released today, the group reveals that many New Yorkers are not only failing to fear, they do not even realize that accused terrorist Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani’s trial is underway. Some, despite the urgent warnings from those trying to “Keep America Safe,” even expressed pride that the prosecution was happening in New York City.
“We have trials like that here all of the time,” one woman observed as Human Rights First correspondent Reagan Kuhn interviewed her near the federal courthouse in Foley Square.
Despite the best efforts of Liz Cheney, Deborah Burlingame, Rudy Guiliani, and Karl Rove to spread panic, many naïve New Yorkers seemed completely uninformed about the chaos that was supposed to reign. Some even observed that “everything seems pretty normal,” “I haven’t noticed anything,” and “I’m sure everybody knows what they are doing.”
As the Ghailani trial proceeds this week and in the weeks ahead, Human Rights First will continue to monitor New Yorkers’ failure to fear federal prosecution of this case. It will also continue to send representatives to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where military commission proceedings are set to commence next month. For those keeping score, U.S. federal courts have convicted more than 400 terrorists. Military commissions have secured only four convictions.
They have been holding terrorism trials of the highest order for years in New York City. SDNY is where the Blind Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman was tried for the first World Trade Center Attack. There is not a better secured and more appropriate place in america to try the 9/11 terrorism suspects. That is what we do in America, and what we do as Americans. Giving in to the fear and bed wetting of the Cheneys, Rudy Guiliani, Lindsey Graham, Lieberman and others of their ilk is giving up on our principles and giving in to the terrorists themselves. Besides, NYC is always a target of terrorists and would be even if Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other four 9/11 suspects were tried in Gitmo.
Put the trials where the crimes happened and deal with it.