NPR logo Atty Gen Holder: 9/11 Mastermind, Others To Face New York Justice

Atty Gen Holder: 9/11 Mastermind, Others To Face New York Justice

Attorney General Eric Holder made official Friday morning what was reported by the media for hours beforehand, the Obama Administration's intention to bring the alleged 9/11 conspirators who've been held at Guantanamo for years to trial in New York.

At a press conference Friday, Holder, a former federal judge and prosecutor, expressed faith in the federal judiciary, prosecutors and New York City officials to manage a high-profile trial of self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Muhammad and other suspected terrorist detainees.

Holder said he intended to seek the death penalty for the terror suspects for their "extraordinary crimes."

He acknowledged that there would likely be political criticism of his decision but he said if observers dispassionately examined what was best for America, they would agree that trials were in the nation's best interest.

Holder said five defendants would be tried in New York. Besides KSM, they were Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarak bin 'Attash, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi.

Holder said:

After eight years of delay, those allegedly responsible for the attacks of September the 11th will finally face justice. They will be brought to New York — to New York — to answer for their alleged crimes in a courthouse just blocks away from where the Twin Towers once stood.

I am confident in the ability of our courts to provide these defendants a fair trial, just as they have for over 200 years. The alleged 9/11 conspirators will stand trial in our justice system
before an impartial jury, under long-established rules and procedures.

I also want to assure the American people that we will prosecute these cases vigorously, and we will pursue the maximum punishment available. These were extraordinary crimes, and so we will seek maximum penalties. Federal rules allow us to seek the death penalty for capital offenses, and while will we — we will review the evidence and circumstances following established protocols, I fully expect to direct prosecutors to seek the death penalty against each of the alleged 9/11 conspirators.