Walid bin Attash is accused of training 9/11 hijackers. The drama came during a pre-trial hearing in the death penalty trial of five men accused of planning the 9/11 attacks.
By Joseph Straw / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, February 14, 2013, 1:01 PM
Walid bin Attash is accused of training 9/11 hijackers.
A man accused of training 9/11 hijackers stood up in court Thursday and lashed out about privileged legal documents vanishing from his jail cell.
“In the name of God there is an important thing for you,” Walid bin Attash said through a translator, despite warnings not to address the court.
The judge, Army Col. James Pohl, ordered him to sit down – but bin Attash refused.
“You are ordering us to come to court on the first day,” the Yemeni said, prompting a warning to his lawyer, Cheryl Bormann.
“I’m going to tell your client one more time to sit down or he will be taken out of the courtroom,” the judge said.
Bormann conferred with bin Attash, who complied.
The drama came during a pre-trial hearing in the death penalty trial of five men accused of planning the 9/11 attacks.
The proceedings are taking place on the grounds of the Navy station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba – where there is a special prison for terrorism suspects – and are being televised via at Fort Meade.
On Wednesday, Bormann told Pohl that bin Attash returned from court Tuesday to find his cell at Guantanamo Bay ransacked and legal documents missing.
Lead defendant and 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and would-be hijacker Ramzi Binalshibh had the same experiences, their lawyers said.
The seizures occurred just as defense lawyers questioned jail officials in court about alleged eavesdropping on attorney-client meetings. Defense officials said meeting rooms have listening devices, but that they were not used to snoop on talk with lawyers.
Chief Prosecutor and Army Brig. Gen. Mark Martins described Tuesday’s incident as a standard cell search – but Bormann demanded a hearing on the issue.
Pohl pledged to address it after scheduled testimony via video teleconference by Navy Vice Adm. Bruce MacDonald, the retired military lawyer who now runs the Pentagon’s military tribunals.
The military tribunal, which is not open to the public, is transmitted via closed-circuit television to five stateside viewing sites.
This week’s is the third pretrial hearing session in the case, which Martins said recently will likely not reach trial for “many, many months.”