9/11 Trial Pushed to August. But Even That's Unlikely

Pandemic has brought proceedings to a standstill
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 30, 2020 2:09 PM CDT
9/11 Trial Pushed to August. But Even That's Unlikely
A US flag flies inside the razor wire of the Camp VI detention facility in Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The trial of five alleged 9/11 plotters is unlikely to begin anytime before the 20th anniversary of the terrorist atrocity. Col. Stephen Keane, the judge who began overseeing the case against the five men earlier this month, has canceled all hearings for the rest of the year, citing pandemic travel restrictions and his need to get up to speed on the case. The new timetable delays the start of the trial until August 2021 at the earliest, but most people involved with the case say even that timeline is unrealistic, NPR reports. "There's just too much ground to cover between now and then," says James Connell, attorney for Ammar al-Baluchi, a Pakistani citizen accused of funding the hijackers.

Keane, the fourth judge to take charge of the case, took over after the retirement of Col. Shane Cohen, who set a January 2021 jury selection date. No hearings in the case have taken place since February, largely due to a two-week quarantine requirement at the Guantanamo Bay base, reports the New York Times. The five suspects, including alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, are among 40 prisoners still detained at Guantanamo. The oldest prisoner is now 73 and the youngest is in his mid-30s, Fox reports. The last known arrival was in 2008, despite President Trump's 2016 promise to send more "bad dudes" to the facility. Only one detainee has been released under Trump's administration. (More 9/11 attacks stories.)

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