Category Archives: Terrorism Trials
We return from an hour’s break, with some GTMO press refreshed by milkshakes purchased from Fort Meade’s Burger King. A video teleconference with CDR Jennifer Strazza, our next witness, awaits. Some nuts and bolts precede her testimony—a stipulation about Echo … Read more »
Nine minutes past the hour, and the session resumes with some bickering about delays. Recess was supposed to last until 1300, but, alas, we’ve reconvened a bit after that. Judge Pohl wants an explanation for the delayed start time; apparently … Read more »
Romance is in the air—and waves of the purest judicial authority—as Judge Pohl calls our session to order. The five men accused of planning 9/11 are present in the courtroom, along with lawyers for defense and prosecution alike. Ditto representatives … Read more »
So how will you ring in this Hallmark Holiday? Lawfare recommends a bouquet of long-stem, CCTV-broadcasted, almost-live hearings from Guantanamo, in the military commission case of United States v. Mohammed et. al. What better way to say, “I love you?”… Read more »
Judge Pohl reconvenes, and wonders: does the Defense have any issues that will need addressing tonight? For his part, Ruiz has a question regarding Admiral MacDonald’s testimony at 0900. Has the burden shifted to the prosecution on AE31, the motion … Read more »
Col. Sterling Thomas, counsel for al-Baluchi, calls our next witness: Ms. Robin Maher, a law professor and (most relevantly) Director of the ABA Death Penalty Representation Project.
Thomas inquires about the ABA’s 2003 Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of … Read more »
Up next at the witness chair Ms. Robin Maher.
Wait—that’s not quite true. First, we have a sidebar about the Convening Authority, Bruce MacDonald. His testimony is set for tomorrow, on AE08 and AE31. The defense’s motion for discovery, AE47, … Read more »
Back from lunch. Col. Bogdan is still on the stand. Edward Ryan, a Justice Department lawyer, speaks for the prosecution. His questioning makes very clear: Bogdan has never recorded attorney-client visits, never authorized such recordings, and acknowledges that it would … Read more »
Our next witness is Army Col. John Bogdan, a military police officer and the joint detention group commander at GTMO since June 2012. Nevin questions him. Bogdan catalogs three types of visits with the high-value detainees at Echo II, GTMO’s … Read more »
It is a chilly morning here at Fort Meade’s Smallwood Hall, venue for Lawfare’s coverage of almost-live, CCTV-broadcasted-from-Guantanamo hearings. This marks the third day of this week’s four-day motions session in United States v. Mohammed et. al.—the 9/11 case. … Read more »
Lt. Col. Ramon Torres now testifies by VTC from Orlando, Florida, where he works in the human resources command. But his testimony is not strictly directed to monitoring matters; instead, explains bin Attash lawyer Cheryl Bormann, Torres’ answers will relate … Read more »
We’re back, with CAPT Welsh still on the stand and Schwartz concluding his examination.
The latter asks about tracking: to Welsh’s knowledge, does JTF-GTMO make records, when any audio monitoring is conducted? Welsh stresses that he only has knowledge of … Read more »
Lunch ends and our proceedings resume.
Judge Pohl does so with a few logistical notes. Our marching orders later today may depend on witnesses’ video tele-conference (VTC) scheduling; the parties thus compare notes about who will be available when this … Read more »
David Nevin stands and says he recently received some documents–evidently copies of emails–regarding CAPT Welsh, our next witness, and his intended testimony on AE133. The lawyer wants to read these before examining Welsh, and prosecutors don’t object to a brief … Read more »
Prosecutor Clay Trivett questions Elkins, turning first to his professional qualifications. The witness understands how the courtroom systems work—even those systems in which he isn’t formally “certified?” Yes. And Elkins again confirms that the court reporters have special software that … Read more »
The Smallwood Screen comes alive, with Judge James Pohl seated at the familiar, authority-emanating bench. A glow likewise surrounds the wall’s JTF insignia; it seems to say, “let us reconvene and discuss attorney-client communications.” So we do, at 9:02 a.m. … Read more »
The dew glistens at Fort Meade’s Smallwood Hall, where we’ve gathered for the second day of CCTV-broadcasted, pre-trial hearings in United States v. Mohammed et. al. Y’all know the drill: dispatches in the “Events Coverage” section, with links to those … Read more »
Your correspondents—Wells and Sophie—return to Fort Meade’s Smallwood Hall, for almost-live CCTV hearings in United States v. Mohammed et al. The motions are different, but the coverage format is the same: posts throughout the day, in our “Events Coverage” corner, … Read more »
Folks, at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, pre-trial hearings resume in the 9/11 case. As always, Lawfare will cover the four-day session, which we’ll observe remotely, via closed-circuit television.
The day reportedly will commence with AE133. That’s the much-discussed emergency motion, brought … Read more »
We’re back, and the parties jointly request a discussion of AE56—the government’s request for oral depositions.
Regarding those, the dates the government proposed earlier are no longer feasible, for operational security reasons that prosecutor Anthony Mattivi says he cannot describe … Read more »
The commission is called to order, with all parties present—including the accused. The witness, Dr. Iacopino, also is “here,” albeit only virtually: he appears today by video teleconference (“VTC”), which will also be broadcasted to us here in Fort Meade.… Read more »
This afternoon, we continue with a second day of almost-live, CCTV-broadcasted hearings in the military commission case of United States v. Al-Nashiri. As always, Lawfare is in the house—Fort Meade’s Smallwood Hall, that is, where your correspondent follows the action … Read more »
We’re back—live (sort of) from Guantanamo (sort of). It’s Monday at Fort Meade, and that means it’s time to open a multi-day motions hearing in the Nashiri military commission. You remember Abd al Rahim Hussayn Muhammad al-Nashiri, right? He’s the … Read more »
We know Judge Pohl wants to hear argument on two motions this afternoon. Now he tells us which ones: AE99D and AE140. The pair are interrelated, and were both filed by the prosecution.
The government turns first to AE99D. It … Read more »
It’s 1:00 pm and we’re back.
Addressing a defense claim from earlier, Judge Pohl makes clear for the record that he would never require defense attorneys to violate applicable rules of professional responsibility. But, he stresses, the defense must have … Read more »
It’s 9:01 am, and Military Judge James Pohl enters the courtroom, resplendent in his black robes, judicial authority emanating from his very being.
The first order of business is AE149, which the defense filed on Friday in response to last … Read more »
A procedural note from commissions-land: in documents signed on Monday, the Convening Authority, Retired Vice Admiral Bruce MacDonald, dismissed sworn charges—material support and standalone conspiracy—against GTMO detainees Sufyian Barhoumi, Jabran Said Bin Al Qahtani, and Ghassan Abdullah al … Read more »
Nevin at the podium. He wishes to make sure that Judge Pohl’s earlier ruling, regarding the cutting of the audio and video feed, takes effect immediately as announced. The court makes clear that no third party can cut the broadcast … Read more »
1/31 Hearing #2: Looking Forward to Nevin’s Emergency Motion, and Testimony by the Convening Authority
The recess concludes, and Judge Pohl takes the bench. First are a few remarks about logistics, including the use of demonstratives and multimedia. (J. Connell III, we’re looking at you.) The rule: no such items allowed, unless submitted at least … Read more »
We return to the ELC courtroom, where prosecutors and defense counsel all are present. The five accused are absent.
Prosecutor Robert Swann is first at the podium; his witness is MAJ Griffin—who testified earlier as to the voluntary, knowing absences … Read more »
Today pretrial hearings resume in the 9/11 case, yesterday’s hearing having consisted entirely of an administrative Rule 802 conference (and thus, no argument on motions). The conference’s outcome reportedly will determine what, exactly, today’s court session will address.
Whatever the … Read more »
AE50, our day’s last, is James Connell III’s request to compel the production of three witnesses.
The first is Robin Maher, an attorney who helped to develop the ABA’s guidelines on capital cases—a legal authority of obvious relevance, but of … Read more »
Your correspondent returns to Fort Meade’s Smallwood Hall, for Lawfare’s CCTV coverage of a second day of hearings in United States v. Mohammed et. al.
The day’s motions are different, but our format remains the same: you’ll find regular posts … Read more »
MAJ Sterling Thomas, on behalf of Ammar al-Baluchi, argues AE93—in which Thomas and James Connell III ask the court to grant their client a brief, audiovisual communication. Ammar al-Baluchi desires to call relatives abroad, in order to send condolences for … Read more »
AE55 is up next. In it, the defense jointly seeks the release of redacted versions of pleadings containing classified materials.
J. Connell III, lawyer for Ammar al-Baluchi, argues in support of the motion, citing RTMC 19-4—which calls for public release … Read more »
Ruiz takes a third stab at AE108, first by emphasizing the justification behind his proposal for overnight visits to his client’s detention center: the lawyer needs to determine sleeping patterns, other life patterns, and the like.
Next he notes two … Read more »
Lunch is done. David Nevin notes the absence of co-counsel, Gary Sowards; prosecutors remind us that all five accused remain voluntarily absent.
We circle back to AE108, regarding the conditions of confinement—and argument in opposition by prosecutor Maj. Robert McGovern. … Read more »
We move now to AE108, a defense effort to inquire into the current conditions of the accuseds’ confinement. Day-to-day life at the detention center is a subject for LCDR Walter Ruiz, Mustafa al-Hawsawi’s lawyer. He rises to speak first.
There … Read more »
Let us turn now to 13U—a defense motion to strike the protective order’s “testimonial notice” provision, paragraph 8(a)(1)(b).
It’s an offensive little paragraph, according to al-Baluchi’s lawyer, J. Connell III: the current language calls on the defense to provide the … Read more »
Do you know what time it is? 9:09 a.m., better known as resplendent-in-judicial-robes time. Judge Pohl calls our session to order. And it’s seemingly a court-and-counsel only affair; all five accused are absent. Confirmation of the latter comes in the … Read more »