Alleged 9/11 operative Mohammed may testify in video from Cuba
WASHINGTON — Lawyers in the upcoming trial of an alleged al-Qaida leader reached a compromise on Thursday to allow his defense attorney to submit written questions to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, with government lawyers allowed to review the questions and answers from the presumed Sept. 11 mastermind to ensure that no classified material is included.
If government national security officials clear those replies, that could lead to testimony from Mohammed during the New York trial of Sulaiman abu Ghaith, possibly by a video feed or recording from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The complex turn of events came after Mohammed agreed to help the legal defense of abu Ghaith, who is charged with criminal conspiracy in connection with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Mohammed faces a U.S. military trial at the prison compound in Cuba, charged with capital murder on suspicion of plotting the attacks.
Abu Ghaith's chief defense lawyer, Stanley Cohen, reached out to Mohammed last month for help. The former top adviser to Osama bin Laden has submitted written statements on behalf of other al-Qaida operatives in their criminal trials, and his words helped downplay their roles.