Congressmen Jerrold Nadler and Anthony Weiner released statements this morning that praised the government for securing a conviction in the first civilian trial of a former Guantanamo detainee.
Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani was convicted on only one count–out of more than 280 brought against him–but Nadler and Weiner each hailed the process as a victory for civilian trials, and as proof that suspected terrorists could be tried safely in Lower Manhattan.
“The [Ghailani] trial was effective and transparent, with no security problems in the heart of Manhattan,” Nadler said in a press release. “The world has seen that the American criminal justice system is both fair and relentless, just as it has been shown to be hundreds of times before, when terrorists were tried and convicted under both the Bush and Obama Administrations.”
After the verdict, Weiner echoed Nadler’s comments.
“This is a victory for the rule of law,” Weiner said in a press release. “This was a skillful prosecution under difficult circumstances. And, in case no one noticed, the trial was held in Manhattan.”
Earlier today, Weiner had some choice words for the Department of Justice, trying to rile them up on Twitter.
“New nominee for most inept messaging by the Obama team : DoJ. Guys, you won! Act like it!” Weiner tweeted.
Nadler and Weiner have previously suggested that the trial of accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed might safely be held in Lower Manhattan, a view that puts them in opposition to a number of their colleagues. Both of New York’s senators have opposed conducting that trial in New York, and last week, Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General-elect Eric Schneiderman both said the Department of Justice should hold the trial outside of the state. At a joint press conference, the two showed their hesitance but did not suggest alternative locations.
“I previously have said it shouldn’t happen in New York City,” Schneiderman said. “Now that I have to deal with it from a state-wide perspective, I am supportive of the governor’s position.”
Attorney General Eric Holder said last week that the Obama administration is “close” to reaching a decision on the location of the trial.
“I would hope that whatever the decision is would be one that would be judged on merit and that what is best for the case and for justice in that case will be the thing that will guide the decision,” Holder said.
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