Terrorism Trials: Military Commissions

9/11 Case: Defense Seeks Mold- and Rat-Related Continuance; Court Balks at Changing the Sequence of Issues to Be Addressed at Hearing

By Wells Bennett
Wednesday, October 3, 2012, 8:05 PM

Lawfarers, here are two developments in the 9/11 case.

The first is this unusual piece of procedural news, brought to us by The Miami Herald's Carol Rosenberg:

Rat droppings and mold are health hazards in the Guantánamo offices of the accused 9/11 mastermind’s legal team, defense lawyers said Wednesday in a war court filing that seeks a delay in this month’s pretrial hearings at the Navy base in southeast Cuba.

“The Naval Hospital at Guantánamo Bay has determined that no one should work in these assigned spaces,” said Marine Maj. Derek Poteet, military defense counsel for confessed al-Qaida operations chief Khalid Sheik Mohammed. “Defense personnel have complained about the mold, rats, and rat feces for more than a year.”

Next there's a new order, regarding the sequence in which motions will be addressed at this month's motions hearing.  Judge James Pohl had received a few requests to adjust the schedule he set earlier this month.  In his order, Pohl says he's sticking to his chosen sequence, at least for the time being.  The order nevertheless leaves room for last-minute changes, as Pohl also makes clear that he'll "consider the position of the parties and make adjustments as necessary."