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Obama may move 9/11 trials out of New York City

[JURIST] The White House is considering moving the trials of alleged 9/11 conspirator Khalid Sheikh Mohammed [JURIST news archive] and other high-profile terror suspects out of New York City, a senior official said Friday. Although the deputy press secretary reaffirmed [transcript] earlier this week that US President Barack Obama "agrees with the Attorney General's opinion that ... he and others can be litigated successfully and securely in the United States of America, just like others have," the administration is now considering moving the trial [NYT report] after strong local opposition. Earlier this week, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg [official profile] cited costs and potential disruptions to the lives of New Yorkers in urging the federal government to move the trials. Bloomberg reiterated that position Friday, saying [recorded audio, MP3] that "it would be phenomenally expensive and it is very disruptive to people who live in the area and businesses in the area ... and it would be better to do it elsewheres [sic] if they could find a venue."

In November, US Attorney General Eric Holder [official website] appeared before the Senate to defend plans [JURIST reports] to try Mohammed, Ramzi Bin Al Shibh [JURIST news archive], Walid Bin Attash, Ali Abdul-Aziz Ali, and Mustafa Ahmed Al Hawsaw in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Earlier in November, the US Senate defeated [JURIST report] an amendment [S AMDT 2669 materials] to an appropriations bill [HR 2847 materials] that would have prevented Guantanamo detainees accused of involvement in 9/11 from being tried in federal courts. In October, Obama signed [JURIST report] into law the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2010 [HR 2892 materials], which allows for Guantanamo Bay detainees to be transferred to the US for prosecution and, among other provisions, requires certain information about each transferred detainee to be disclosed to Congress including costs, legal rationales, and possible risks.

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