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Old 04-24-2008, 12:12 PM   #1
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Default Lawyer fears 9/11 mastermind trial will be 'insanity'

http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/04/23/...ney/index.html

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Prescott Prince is a small-town lawyer who has never taken a death penalty case to trial. Yet he finds himself involved in one of the biggest capital punishment cases this century: He's defending the alleged mastermind of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.


Prescott Prince says the suspected 9/11 mastermind deserves a fair trial.

He readily acknowledges how his client is perceived as "one of the most reviled people" in the world. But he says it's imperative America give Mohammed a fair trial, just like anyone else accused of a crime.

No civilian court, he says, would accept confessions obtained after a defendant was mistreated. But the CIA admits Mohammed was waterboarded, a controversial interrogation technique that involves simulated drowning.

"I take the position that this is mock execution. ... Colloquially speaking, at least it's torture," Prince says.

The fact whatever Mohammed said during such duress could be used at trial is alarming to Prince.

"That's not the rule of law. That's just insanity." Watch waterboarding is "mock execution"

A Navy reservist, Prince, 53, rejects the suggestion that he is less than patriotic for representing an accused terrorist. "I had friends who were at the Pentagon the day it was attacked so I don't accept the concept of 'gee I don't know what it's like.'"

Prince is currently visiting the detention center at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba to meet his client. He was denied a meeting with Mohammed on Wednesday due to procedural problems; he will try again today.

Before Prince headed to Guantanamo, he told CNN he had no idea whether Mohammed will accept him as his lawyer. He says he's gone over what he's going to say "about a hundred times a day."

He's been reading the Koran and has met with psychologists and other lawyers who have represented accused terrorists. "This would not be the first time I've met with a client who initially did not want, if you will, court-appointed counsel," he said. "I've had clients call me almost any name in the book. I've had them refuse to come see me." Meet the attorney defending suspected 9/11 mastermind

Still Prince realizes this is different. Very different.

Mohammed has been in custody since he was caught in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, in 2003. He was transferred from a secret location to Gitmo in 2006. The government says he confessed to his involvement in the September 11, 2001, attacks and many other terrorist plots.

The government in February said six terror suspects, including Mohammed, would go before military commissions and could face the death penalty if it is judged they were involved in the September 11 attacks. The proceedings are governed by the Military Commissions Act, which Congress passed to handle arrestees in the war on terror. See the terror suspects who could face the death penalty

The act requires detainees have access to lawyers as well as to any evidence presented against them. They also will have the right to appeal a guilty verdict, potentially through a civilian appeals court and perhaps the U.S. Supreme Court, according to the act. Watch general describe charges against al Qaeda suspects

In the case of Mohammed, the government acknowledged he was subjected to waterboarding, a harsh interrogation technique that many experts believe violates the Geneva Conventions' ban on torture. Waterboarding involves strapping a person to a surface, covering the face with cloth and pouring water over the cloth to imitate the sensation of drowning.

Prince finds that extremely troubling because he says a civilian court would never admit evidence gained through a coerced statement. The government says Mohammed has confessed to 9/11 and other terror plots.

"Even the greenest deputy sheriff or rookie police officer in Skunk Hollow County knows that if you rough up a defendant, anything he says after that is not going to be admitted into court," Prince says. "The officer might not like those rules, but he understands them and will abide by them."

But a judge in a military commission could have it entered into evidence. "We have created a system under the military commissions that says in essence, 'if he was roughed up, but what he says still seems reliable, we'll accept it any way.' And that's just wrong."

Prince says there are other complications. He may not have the chance to cross-examine Mohammed's accusers and may not see all the evidence to be put forward in court. Watch families of 9/11 victims push for fair trials

Prince doesn't believe Mohammed can get a fair trial and says the country risks trashing "our constitutional values when it becomes convenient to do so."

"I don't want to impugn anyone's character, but this is where Ronald Reagan's term 'trust but verify' will come into play," he says.

The military has assigned him a three-person team consisting of another lawyer, an intelligence analyst and a paralegal. The American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers have also teamed up to find volunteers to help Prince and the other lawyers defending accused terrorists at Guantanamo Bay.

Norman Reimer, the executive director of the NACDL, explained the daunting task this way:"It's going to require all of the ingenuity and resources -- not just to defend the accused -- but to defend the American system of justice and what we stand for in the world. That's what this is about."

Two lawyers from Boise, Idaho, have agreed to help Prince. No strangers to terrorism cases, David Nevin and Scott McKay won an acquittal for a Saudi man who faced terror charges.


Prince for years ran a small practice in Richmond, Virginia. But last year, the reservist was called to active duty and spent six months in Iraq. He never thought this would be his next assignment.

"I could have said, 'No,'" he says, before adding, "I don't think I would have been doing honor to myself or honor to my calling."
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Old 04-24-2008, 01:10 PM   #2
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Default Re: Lawyer fears 9/11 mastermind trial will be 'insanity'

If he wants a fair trial he better have it somewhere off American soil. Chances of him getting anything fair would be slim to none and slim just left the building.

He was tortured, boo-hoo. What about the hundreds of thousands of people he's tortured and sent to the grave - all of a sudden this guy has rights!

WHATEVER!
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Old 04-24-2008, 01:18 PM   #3
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Default Re: Lawyer fears 9/11 mastermind trial will be 'insanity'

He should get a fair trial. It protects the integrity of the US in the eyes of the rst of the World, and, in particular, Muslims. The worst thing the US can do is appear to mistreat people based solely on their religion.

That being said, the guy is gonna burn no matter what. We just need to observe form in the process of burning him.
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Old 04-24-2008, 04:57 PM   #4
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Default Re: Lawyer fears 9/11 mastermind trial will be 'insanity'

The reason we capture most of these guys, instead of giving a free reign to just shoot them on site, is it does so much more damage to the moral of the enemy to see their big shots, in dirty white t-shirts, having our doctors pick through their hair and beards for lice. If we ever catch Osama, I hope he's caught alive. Then we can see him in his dirty white t-shirt, with our doctors picking through his hair, see him humbled and broken down and then, tried by our courts, found guilty and then put in a jail to rot. No martyrdom, just sitting in a cell...rotting away to nothing. dying a broken old tired man. That hurts the will of the enemy more than anything else.

But on this topic, this mastermind, I hope I get a call for Jury Duty, I'll be totally unbiased, really.
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Old 04-25-2008, 08:17 AM   #5
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Default Re: Lawyer fears 9/11 mastermind trial will be 'insanity'

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Originally Posted by revefsreleets View Post
He should get a fair trial. It protects the integrity of the US in the eyes of the rst of the World, and, in particular, Muslims. The worst thing the US can do is appear to mistreat people based solely on their religion.

That being said, the guy is gonna burn no matter what. We just need to observe form in the process of burning him.
I'm not saying he doesn't deserve a fair trial by law standards but IMHO it's not going to happen in this country.
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Old 04-25-2008, 08:24 AM   #6
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Default Re: Lawyer fears 9/11 mastermind trial will be 'insanity'

I say give him a fair trial and after he's found guilty, cuff him to a seat in one of these stadiums that are going to be imploded and hit the switch. KABOOM!
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Old 04-25-2008, 09:18 AM   #7
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Default Re: Lawyer fears 9/11 mastermind trial will be 'insanity'

One of the main reasons that we have so few terrorists on US soil is that we don't have many homegrown. There are many reasons for that, not the least of which is that we are much more tolerant of muslims than Europeans, not to mention that muslims actually have a real chance of making a go at it here (ala "The American Dream"). I think we do a very poor job as a Country of accurately projecting these facts to the World.

I recently read that while we've caught about 50 suspected terrorists on US soil since 2001, they've nabbed over 6,000 in Europe. The population of Europe and the US is roughly the same (I think we are at 300 million and Europe has about 310 million inhabitants), but that is huge disparity. Obviously, European muslims are much more disgruntled than American muslims, yet we somehow fail to get that message across. That needs to change.
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Old 04-25-2008, 01:43 PM   #8
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Default Re: Lawyer fears 9/11 mastermind trial will be 'insanity'

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Originally Posted by Dino 5 Rings View Post
The reason we capture most of these guys, instead of giving a free reign to just shoot them on site, is it does so much more damage to the moral of the enemy to see their big shots, in dirty white t-shirts, having our doctors pick through their hair and beards for lice. If we ever catch Osama, I hope he's caught alive. Then we can see him in his dirty white t-shirt, with our doctors picking through his hair, see him humbled and broken down and then, tried by our courts, found guilty and then put in a jail to rot. No martyrdom, just sitting in a cell...rotting away to nothing. dying a broken old tired man. That hurts the will of the enemy more than anything else.
Very well put. They feel honored to be killed in a battle, even it they are tortuted and belittled in the process. But seeing them treated like children with lice is an embarrassment.
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Old 04-25-2008, 01:53 PM   #9
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Default Re: Lawyer fears 9/11 mastermind trial will be 'insanity'

We need to show the world that America values justice over revenge. That's why it's so important that all terrorists be given a fair trial.

If it's perceived that our nation is only interested in revenge, it gives the enemy another thing to use against us in the propaganda war.
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Old 04-25-2008, 08:19 PM   #10
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Default Re: Lawyer fears 9/11 mastermind trial will be 'insanity'

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We need to show the world that America values justice over revenge. That's why it's so important that all terrorists be given a fair trial.

If it's perceived that our nation is only interested in revenge, it gives the enemy another thing to use against us in the propaganda war.
Well stated but in your honest opinion do you think there is an American who if placed on that jury would be able to be un-biased?
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