It wouldn’t be a military commission without some preliminary matters, the first of which is attendance. (No surprise here: the court’s approach to the issue requires a brief inquiry at the commencement of each day, in order to ensure that any absent defendants voluntarily and knowingly waive—or continue to waive—their rights to take in the commission proceedings in person.)
So who’s here? Only Ali Abdul Aziz Ali is in the house; he initially was reluctant to come to court, but eventually decided to. Not so for the other four defendants, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Mustafa al-Hawsawi, Ramzi Binahshibh, and Walid Bin Attash, all of whom have skipped out. The court and counsel thus push through the needed colloquies and testimony: prosecutor Robert Swann calls the same witness as he did yesterday, a JTF staffer, and ensures that the witness orally advised the no-shows of their rights, and that each of them waived those rights, in writing and in the witness’s presence.
There’s a only a few minutes of cross-examination. The most notable comes from James Connell III, lawyer for Aziz Ali. The attorney’s questioning prompts a grimace from the court, as the latter asks about relevance: Connell’s client hasn’t waived his rights, but instead elected to come to court. Connell quickly concludes, and there’s a few additional questions from some other defense lawyers. Afterwards, the court finds that the four absentees properly have elected not to show up. (Chief Prosecutor Mark Martins rises and quickly confirms that the court has accounted for Section 949d of the Military Commissions Act, in deciding how to approach presence matters; Judge Pohl has.)
That’s it for preliminaries.