Wednesday, September 24, 2008

KSM Trial Begins

The trial of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed begins, with the defendant trying an interesting strategy in interrogating the judge. I don't know why he doesn't go with the "Dick Cheney did it" approach, which supposedly is obvious to everyone.

Invoking names such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Buchanan, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, he admitted organizer of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, probed the private opinions of the military judge who is overseeing his case Tuesday in a series of sometimes testy exchanges during a hearing on the judge's impartiality.

Mohammed, wearing a black turban, began by asking Marine Col. Ralph Kohlmann about his religious beliefs and whether he had any association with the religious organizations of Pat Robertson or the late Jerry Falwell.

"If you are in one of those denominations, you are not going to be fair," said Mohammed, who switched between Arabic and English when he spoke to the judge. The judge said he had not belonged to any congregation for some time but had attended Lutheran and Episcopal churches.

The pretrial hearing provided Mohammed and four other defendants facing murder and war crimes charges for their alleged involvement in the terrorist attacks with the opportunity to discover any bias that would suggest Kohlmann should recuse himself. Three of the five, including Mohammed, are representing themselves.

Kohlmann, who will rule on his own impartiality, noted that he had responded to nearly 600 questions in writing. Tuesday's proceeding allowed the defendants and their attorneys to ask follow-up questions.