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Obama’s Lawyers May Drop Terror Convictions

From an elated New York Times:

U.S. Legal Officials Split Over How to Prosecute Terrorism Detainees

By CHARLIE SAVAGE | January 7, 2013

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration legal team is divided over whether to drop two terrorism cases originally prosecuted in a military commission at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, a decision that could have far-reaching consequences by significantly reducing the number of other prisoners who can receive tribunal trials.

Boy, the elections really are over. And never mind that Obama campaigned on how tough he is on terrorism. And never mind that so many people seemed to have believed him.

The two defendants were found guilty in 2008 by a tribunal on charges — including “material support for terrorism” — that the Justice Department concedes were not recognized international war crimes at the time of their actions. In October, an appeals court rejected the government’s argument that such charges were valid in American law and vacated the “material support” verdict against one of the men, a former driver for Osama bin Laden.

Administration officials are now wrestling with whether to abandon the guilty verdict against the other detainee, a Qaeda facilitator and maker of propaganda videos. He was convicted of both “material support” and “conspiracy,” another charge the Justice Department has agreed is not part of the international laws of war, and his case is pending before a different panel of the same appeals court.

Somehow we think the administration officials are going to decide to abandon that guilty verdict.

Terminating that case without a further fight, however, would mean giving up on charging other detainees with those offenses. It would also require prosecutors to drop a similar charge in the system’s centerpiece case, the coming trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four others accused as accomplices in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks…

And this would bother the administration how?

The push to terminate the two cases has been led by Brig. Gen. Mark S. Martins, the chief military commission prosecutor, officials said. He is said to have argued that even though giving up on the two cases would mean narrowing the scope of the tribunal system, it would put the system on firmer long-term footing and avoid making losing arguments and damaging its legitimacy as his office focuses on convicting the Sept. 11 defendants.

They always have ‘bigger fish to fry.’ But somehow the bigger fish never get fried.

General Martins’s position had been backed by the acting general counsel of the Pentagon, Robert S. Taylor, and the top lawyer at the State Department, Harold Koh…

Gee, what a surprise. Of course they know which side of the bread their butter is on with Obama in the White House.

Justice Department litigators, however, have been loath to give up without a further fight, especially since both charges were blessed by Congress in 2006 and 2009 laws…

Sure they are. Eric Holder must be furious. You know, the same Eric Holder whose law firm represented many Gitmo detainees pro-bono.

The administration legal team has been arguing about the detainee issue for weeks, in discussions and in opposing memorandums. The decision is up to the solicitor general, Donald Verrilli Jr…

This is the same Donald Verrilli who made a fool of himself trying to argue for Obama-Care before the Supreme Court. So you know we can trust him to make the right decision.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Tuesday, January 8th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

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