WASHINGTON — Yielding to political opposition, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Monday that 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four alleged henchmen will be referred to military commissions for trial rather than to a civilian federal court in New York.
The families of those killed in the Sept. 11 attacks have waited almost a decade for justice, and "it must not be delayed any longer," Holder told a news conference.
Holder had announced the earlier plan for trial in New York City in November 2009, but that foundered amid widespread opposition to a civilian court trial from Republicans and even some Democrats, particularly in New York. Congress passed legislation that prohibits bringing any detainees from the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the United States.
Monday, the attorney general called the congressional restrictions unwise and unwarranted and said a legislative body cannot make prosecutorial decisions.