We believe that the men accused of planning the 9/11 attacks must be brought to trial in federal district court for the murder of more than 2,600 people in our city.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-defendants should be held accountable for the murder of those killed in New York City by being put on trial in New York so that New Yorkers who lost loved ones have access to the court. There are multiple locations in the state of New York that would be appropriate for trials of this importance.
The federal court system has a long track record of prosecuting terrorism suspects and has successfully completed more than 400 terrorism cases since 9/11. A federal court trial in New York could be held in both a secure and dignified manner, and would provide 9/11 family members and other New Yorkers with the opportunity to witness the trial. Experienced federal judges will be able to address the complex legal issues that will arise at trial, and base decisions on hundreds of years of precedent. A judgment handed down in US federal court will have global legitimacy.
Military commissions, in contrast, have convicted only five terrorism suspects since 9/11. They are untested and embroiled in legal challenges that will result in years of further delay. Reliance on military commissions will tarnish the credibility of any verdict in the 9/11 trial, which would both be harmful to our nation and unfair to the families of the 9/11 victims.
President Obama, bring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-defendants to trial in federal court so we New Yorkers can finally see justice done.
By giving the 9/11 defendants a fair trial in federal court, for all the world to see, we affirm our faith in our judicial system and our democratic values. There is no better or more effective response to terrorist violence.