Now in Legal Rebels:
Posted Feb 12, 2010 11:25 am CST
Responding to political backlash, President Obama plans to insert himself into the decision about where to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the accused mastermind behind the 9-11 terror attacks.
The president initially delegated the task of selecting a trial site to Attorney General Eric Holder in an effort to keep the Justice Department independent from political influence, the Washington Post reports. But when Holder selected New York City for the trial, criticism mounted.
Sources told the paper that the administration recognizes it’s mishandled the trial selection process and unwittingly triggered a political backlash.
In an interview with the Post, Holder indicated the trial could be switched to a military commission, even though he believes Article III courts are a more appropriate venue.
“At the end of the day, wherever this case is tried, in whatever forum, what we have to ensure is that it’s done as transparently as possible and with adherence to all the rules,” Holder is quoted saying. “If we do that, I’m not sure the location or even the forum is as important as what the world sees in that proceeding.”
Obama’s involvement has to do with securing congressional funding for holding the trial. There is a growing movement on Capitol Hill to strip financing for the case against Mohammed and four others who the administration planned to try in civilian courts.