Case Coverage: Al Nashiri Case

2/17 Motions Session #1: Does Al-Nashiri Want Different Defense Counsel?

By Wells Bennett
Monday, February 17, 2014, 9:31 AM

The pretrial session commences in unremarkable fashion, with some additions to the prosecution and defense teams; a few new lawyers put their credentials on the record.

But then comes this unforeseen development: Learned Counsel Richard Kammen says Al-Nashiri wants Kammen to withdraw from the defense. But, Kammen tells the military judge, the accused also wishes to discuss further with Kammen, in order to determine whether the issue between them (whatever it may be) can be resolved.  Kammen thus suggests, and the court agrees, that the representation question ought to be addressed before the parties proceed any further.  To that end, the death penalty lawyer proposes a modest, two-day delay.  For its part, the prosecution is keen to avoid any long delay; the government, says, Cmdr Andrea Lockhart, is concerned about moving the case forward.  She’s therefore fine with a brief pushing back of the schedule---but would want to see any lost time restored to the docket, assuming Kammen can continue as Learned Counsel.

Judge James Pohl resolves things: the case is off for two days, while Kammen and Al-Nashiri see if they can plot a workable way forward.  Should Kammen ultimately stay on as Learned Counsel, the hearing will push on through the weekend, in order to make up for lost time; but if he doesn’t, then court and counsel will work out a different agenda.  At any rate, we’re in recess until Wednesday at 0900.