Judge James Pohl returns the bench and calls the proceedings to order.
Yesterday’s process all but foreordained our first matter: attendance. And consistent with the process announced yesterday, three of the accused indeed have opted not to attend—al-Hawsawi, Aziz Ali (aka al-Baluchi), and KSM. In order to document the mens’ valid waiver of their presence rights, the prosecution presents the testimony of JTF-staffer. The witness explains that, yes, the military this morning notified the three of their right to attend today’s proceedings; but that the three each waived those rights orally and in writing. (The explanation and written waiver were provided to the men in Arabic or in English, according to each man’s preferences and language abilities.) For his part, KSM has elected to watch today’s proceedings from a holding cell.
David Nevin wants to cross examine the witness a bit, and his request to do so perplexes the bench. Why question a witness, if the accused decided not to come on their own? The court allows cross-examination in any event, while noting that successful impeachment would all but require him to order the accused to attend against their will. David Nevin’s first question is a zinger: what’s your name? That, it turns out, is something prosecutors want to keep secret, by way of their order to protect unclassified but secret information. The court sustains the government’s objection, but says that the witness’s identity and job title will be submitted in a sealed exhibit. The judge determines on the record that, indeed, the three absentees voluntarily and knowingly have waived their rights to attend.
Cheryl Bormann stands. Her issue, as we know from yesterday, is the condition of defense office space. She challenges the qualifications of the government officials who, evidently, examined the defense’s offices and concluded that they presented no health risks. Judge Pohl, for his part, wants to hear from the military personnel who conducted the inspection. So brace yourselves: we’ll hear more about rodents, rodent feces, and mold sometime later today, around lunchtime.
That’s it for preliminaries; on to the real stuff.