Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday said the government is “close to a decision” on the venue for the prosecution of the self-described mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Holder announced last November that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and his alleged accomplices would be tried in a Manhattan federal court as part of President Barack Obama’s efforts to shutter the Guantanamo Bay detention center. But Republicans and Democrats raised concerns about the prospect.
The security costs for a trial in downtown New York, the chance that the defendants might be able to use the courtroom as a public venue to spread propaganda and the possibility that the defendants might be found not guilty are among the main concerns of critics.
The White House has since put the possibility of using military commissions for the prosecutions on the table and is considering other places for a civilian trial. The Washington Post said on Sunday in an editorial that the slow decision-making process on the prosecutions is “as confounding as it is damaging.”
“The process is an ongoing one,” Holder told reporters at Justice Department headquarters during an unrelated news conference. “We are working to make a determination about the placement of that trial. I would hope that whenever the decision is it would be one that would be judged on the merits and what is best for the case and for justice in that case will be the thing that resides as a decision.”