Bloomberg Now Opposes 9/11 Trials in NY Federal Court

More whining about anticipated the 9/11 federal criminal trials. Mayor Bloomberg reverses course and now complains about the expense and anticipated traffic jams. And:

Rep. Peter King (R., N.Y.) said he has introduced a bill that would prohibit the use of Justice Department funds to try Guantanamo detainees in federal civilian courts. ...The New York congressman called it "one of the worst decisions ever made by any president," and said terrorist suspects should be tried by military commissions.

Sounds to me the worst decision was NY voters electing Peter King. The trials belong in federal court, New York is the proper venue, federal courts there have successfully dealt with multiple terror trials. As for traffic jams, given that the trials will take months, except on a few days of heightened interest, such as jury selection, opening arguments and closing arguments, it's unlikely they will be a huge draw. Interest in them is likely to wane while the tedious testimony is taken.

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    Obama - civil libertarian and legal scholar. (1.00 / 0) (#19)
    by lentinel on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:39:21 PM EST
    This is how Obama, a lawyer, also the President of the United States, expressed himself regarding the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed:

    "Obama said those offended by the legal privileges given to [K.S.] Mohammed by virtue of getting a civilian trial rather than a military tribunal won't find it "offensive at all when he's convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him."

    A total disregard for the rights of the accused.
    And, quite an abuse of power.

    Anyway, Obama has rendered a verdict.
    So Bloomberg can relax.

    Clinton and Reno (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 04:23:28 PM EST
    said the same thing about the OKC bombing, before they even knew who the suspects were. They came out right away and said "the death penalty is available and it will be sought."

    By law, DOJ has to hold a meeting and allow defense counsel an opportunity to be heard before the decision is made. The heinousness of the crime should only be one factor in their decision.

    Unfortunately, Obama, like Clinton before him, is already forecasting nothing will change their mind.

    It's not right, but that is how it is and Obama is no different than Clinton in this respect.


    There is (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by lentinel on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 05:03:05 PM EST
    a difference is saying that the death penalty will be "sought" with respect to as yet unknown perpetrators, and saying that the death penalty will be "applied" to a defendant awaiting trial.

    Obama is already presuming guilt and looking forward to the execution of an individual yet to tried or convicted of anything.

    I was shocked that Obama said it. Because it is so unintelligent.

    I'm not crazy about the Clinton/Reno quote either, but it is not in a class with Obama's remark, at least in my opinion.


    Bloomberg Has a Security Theater Issue (none / 0) (#46)
    by msaroff on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 05:02:20 PM EST
    Not a security issue.

    He thinks that New York can handle the trial, but that the city cannot handle the security theater:

    Bloomberg isn't afraid that the security of the city will be jeopardized by the trial; he's afraid that security for the trial will jeopardize the city.

    The prevailing attitude in New York after the attacks was that they shouldn't be allowed to disrupt ordinary life any more than necessary. But the Feds are talking about the need to erect more than 2,000 interlocking steel barriers, and flooding the court district with uniformed officers. The preliminary estimate is that security alone could cost $1 billion over five years. In a word, that's crazy.

    There are two reasonable alternatives here. The first is to scale down the security theater to a size commensurate with the actual risks - this is hardly the first high-profile trial to be held in the southern district. But if we're not going to be reasonable about security, we might as well move the trial to a location that can be secured more easily and with less adverse impact.

    If this take is correct, then Bloomberg is correct: Going into full freakout mode is stupid and wasteful.

    I believe the traffic jams are not due (none / 0) (#1)
    by tigercourse on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 02:01:24 PM EST
    to "interest" but to the need to shut down streets for security purposes.

    agreed (none / 0) (#2)
    by CST on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 02:06:07 PM EST
    although it is a lot easier to shut down streets in NYC than in some places.  Having a grid makes detours easy.  Will traffic be worse?  Sure.  But it's not like they don't close roads all the time for other reasons, like repaving, or construction.  People survive.

    how many streets? (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 02:07:52 PM EST
    How far is MCC from the federal courthouse? Across the street. They have to drive the defendants from one underground garage to another.

    The Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in New York City is an administrative facility housing male and female pre-trial and holdover inmates.

    MCC New York is located in lower Manhattan, adjacent to Foley Square and across the street from the Federal courthouse.

    I'm sure there will be a security (none / 0) (#5)
    by nycstray on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 02:19:21 PM EST
    perimeter set up. An then you have to take in what other issues are already going on down there with street closures, construction etc. There's a reason it's much quicker and easier to hop on the subway vs a cab during the week.  ;)

    It's prob a bigger issue as to who's going to pay for everything. Doesn't matter how boring the trial is, security will be what it is for NYC. And that ain't cheap . . . especially if OT kicks in because we need to maintain a certain level of personnel.

    Isn't there another place in NYS they could try him that would be lower profile and less disruptive (to people and budgets)?


    I have to imagine that either the Northern or (none / 0) (#7)
    by tigercourse on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 02:26:32 PM EST
    Western District Courts would be easier to manage.

    It has been suggested (none / 0) (#8)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 02:26:58 PM EST
    that the trial take place on Governors' Island, but the feds say no because they would want a prison to hold him there, which would take 2 years to build.

    Here's a link (none / 0) (#9)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 02:27:54 PM EST
    bloomberg already said no to that (none / 0) (#28)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 04:16:10 PM EST
    I don't think that's still under consideration

    Ugh (none / 0) (#6)
    by nycstray on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 02:21:58 PM EST
    Canal, Broadway and Bowery? Sounds messy . . . .

    yea (none / 0) (#10)
    by CST on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 02:41:07 PM EST
    that's a bad part of Manhattan to deal with traffic wise.  It where the grid gets messy due to the bridges and shape of the island.  And it's got probably the heaviest traffic.

    Still, I find Bloomberg's objection now strange.  Especially considering he was an advocate for severely restricting traffic in lower manhattan and implementing congestion pricing there.  I realize there is a difference between long-term strategic planning and a temporary restriction.  But hearing the traffic argument from him just seems odd, considering his record there.

    I wonder how/if it would affect the Fung Wah bus - which stops at Bowery and Canal.


    Prob the hard parimeter and soft issues (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by nycstray on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 02:53:56 PM EST
    it's one thing to restrict/reroute traffic with congestion issues, quite another to have 2,000 metal barriers and spot checks etc. Sounds more like reconsideration after really looking at plans vs proposal.

    And the money issue. Today he was discussing the budget cuts. . . .


    yea (none / 0) (#15)
    by CST on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:08:05 PM EST
    and when you consider the financial aspect as well - congestion pricing is intended to make money, not lose it.

    I guess I see it as more of a money issue than a traffic issue.  Traffic issues can be worked out.  It happens all the time for various reasons.


    Did you see this Paterson quote? (none / 0) (#16)
    by nycstray on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:15:53 PM EST
    "Every time there is a loud noise during the two years of those trials it's going to frighten people, and I think New Yorkers have been through enough."

    Imagine what that would do to business in the area . . . and the price tag for security. Oy.


    The idea that (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:49:23 PM EST
    terrorists will be drawn to the site of the trial and do suicide bombs and things like that is the least legitimate part of this whole argument.  Not to say it couldn't ever happen, but it's just never been part of the modus operandi of these people.

    that and (5.00 / 0) (#22)
    by CST on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:58:40 PM EST
    it just sounds too much like "oo scary terrorists, can't let them set foot on U.S. soil or we all might get... scared".

    Especially considering the security that would be in place.  I don't see anything happening.


    To be fair (none / 0) (#24)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 04:05:25 PM EST
    We've never had trials of one of their own in NYC either, so we really don't know what their MO would be in this situation...

    of course they have had trials (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 04:15:32 PM EST
    of their own, including the first WTC bombing case and many, many others

    What others? (none / 0) (#34)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 04:27:59 PM EST
    Yes, I forgot about the first WTC bombing.  But the only place that has had a trial with the devastation and loss of life even remotely near to this was in the Oklahoma City bombing, and even that doesn't compare (and yes, I realize McViegh and Nichols were not held as enemy combatants, etc.)  But the emotion is the same, as is the media circus that this will be.  

    There is nothing that will be like this trial.


    Soooo, your argument is (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 11:06:07 PM EST
    that they might have a different MO for trials of people who caused a really, really large number of casualties, as opposed to people who only caused an ordinarily large number?

    The mind reels.


    Ah, as I recall, (none / 0) (#36)
    by MKS on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 04:34:03 PM EST
    there is someone here who was present at the Oklahoma City bombing trial....

    Seems (none / 0) (#17)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:20:11 PM EST
    like valid concerns to me.

    So, you oppose the trial in NYC (none / 0) (#35)
    by MKS on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 04:32:26 PM EST
    and support the military commissions idea?

    You are a down-the-line conservative when comes to law-and-order....


    And for the record (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 04:39:40 PM EST
    It's not just conservatives who are "law & order" types.  Some people can believe in liberal social policy and still believe that (gulp) people should obey the law.  It's not really a difficult concept to comprehend.  We don't all care about illegal drugs, but we do care about too many guns in our society, too much violence, too much theft, too many rapes, too many murders, and we don't like to see people who commit these crimes get away with it and walk among civilized people.  If that makes me "conservative", so be it.

    There is a difference between violent crime (none / 0) (#43)
    by MKS on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 04:49:36 PM EST
    and other crimes....

    You want to throw all "criminals" in jail....And, yes, there are plenty of democrats who demagog on this issue....

    Looking at the rates of incarceration in this country is revealing.....We are like North Korea and others....We have way too many people in jail.  California began releasing thousands from prison today.  They are guilty of non-violent offenses and will be monitored via GPS.   Money and costs of incarceration will perhaps induce some sanity....  


    So we differ (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 05:01:04 PM EST
    Because you obviously believe that no one should be held accountable for their actions.  Let's give them a slap on the wrist and a hug and let them go on their merry way.

    Many around here keep pushing for drugs to be legalized.  I'm fine with that - legalize them, regulate them, and tax the heck out of them.  But as a person who has never taken illegal drugs, never desired to, and never will, the emphasis on it that some have around here is foreign to me. It's really not that important to me.  But I also think those who think that by waving a magic wand, legalizing drugs, and opening the prisons is going to somehow solve many of the problems associated with drugs in our society are just wrong.  And the pure venom people have for law enforcement and prosecutors is just plain bizzare too - as if criminal defense attorneys are the only "pure" ones in our system, fighting for principles and virtue.  Sorry, pal, that's not the way it is in the real world.

    But yes, I think people who commit crimes should be prepared to pay the consequences of their actions.  If that means a fine and probation - great.  Go out and do it and don't commit more crimes.  If it warrants jail time, then they should serve time in jail.


    It's about more than just legalizing drugs (none / 0) (#51)
    by MKS on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 06:03:53 PM EST
    It is about us having one of the highest rates of incarceration in the world, on a par with not-so-nice countries....

    In the real world, cops lie and plant evidence....And personally, the more contact I have with real cops, the less and less I think of them.  That is real world experience....The higher ups, Captains and the like, can be different.  The smart, talented cops don't stay on patrol very long.

    You haven't really heard what I have been saying about punishment.  It doesn't necessarily have to be jail....GPS monitoring can be very effective in preventing more crime, and as onerous as you want it to be.  If you have to have someone behind bars subject to gangs and rape to feel as if someone has been punished, then I suppose electronic confinement won't be enough for you....But for nonviolent offenders it will be the future...


    Of course saying we (none / 0) (#57)
    by Wile ECoyote on Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 06:26:12 AM EST
    are like the International socialists of North Korea is not demagoguery at all....

    Socialists, (none / 0) (#59)
    by Wile ECoyote on Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 11:09:36 AM EST
    International socialists and national socialists are all the same to me.  They all start out as socialists.  

    Which committee (none / 0) (#61)
    by Wile ECoyote on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 11:37:12 AM EST
    instructed you to write that?

    "Which committee?" (none / 0) (#63)
    by jondee on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 02:00:06 PM EST
    as in, over here in on this side of the aisle, we're just too dang dumb to come up with sumthin' like that.

    How about those socialistic (none / 0) (#64)
    by jondee on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 02:18:56 PM EST
    committees that insist American taxpayers provide help and relief to red state tornado and flood victims?

    Why should hard-working citizens have to continue to pay for the mistakes involved in other people's poor life decisions, ie: where they choose to live?


    Wow (none / 0) (#37)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 04:36:52 PM EST
    You must read lots of fiction because it's clouding your comprehension here.  But that's more typical of right wingers - assume facts not in evidence.

    See, I'll spell it out for you, since once again, you don't understand.  I was responding to this comment:

    The idea that (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:49:23 PM EST
    terrorists will be drawn to the site of the trial and do suicide bombs and things like that is the least legitimate part of this whole argument.  Not to say it couldn't ever happen, but it's just never been part of the modus operandi of these people.

    But apparently in your eyes, I'm not allowed to have an opinion that I think the MO could change.  There's nothing in that statement that says I am for or against anything, but you always seem to read intentions where there aren't any.  Are you psychic?  If so, would you share the lottery numbers?


    It was a reasonable assumption (none / 0) (#38)
    by MKS on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 04:38:58 PM EST
    given your views on crime....

    So, where do you stand with respect to the trial?


    I think (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 04:41:39 PM EST
    They would never have decided to hold it in NYC unless they were absolutely sure they could get a conviction.  It would be political suicide, and that's what I think this whole thing is - politics.

    If this guy is guilty (and I think he is) - I have no sympathy for whatever happens to him.


    So, you oppose the trial being held in (none / 0) (#42)
    by MKS on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 04:44:56 PM EST

    What about the military commissions idea--or is that part of the I-don't-care-what-happens-to-him idea?


    Why do you do that? (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 05:04:52 PM EST
    Read things that aren't there? Is that some kind of weird tactic that you think will get people to agree with you or something?

    I don't oppose them being in NYC, but I think it's a political ploy.  I don't think it has one iota of anything to do with upholding our dearest principles.  This trial would never be on US soil, no matter what constitutional scholars and liberal bloggers said, if the government was not 100% sure they were going to get a conviction.  The political stakes (and maybe security) stakes would be too great if the government lost.


    Okay, you I guess you're not big (none / 0) (#52)
    by MKS on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 06:10:15 PM EST
    on giving an opinion about the trial and military commissions, except that you don't oppose it being in NYC.    

    I support a civilian trial in NYC....for any number of reasons, least of which is what Rudy Giuliani said at one time about how we are a nation of laws and that we can be proud of giving a fair trial to anyone....


    FYI (none / 0) (#11)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 02:41:32 PM EST
    DiFi wants the trial out of NY too....

    "I think the administration should listen to the mayor, listen to the mayor's concern, and, candidly, make a change," she said, referencing New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's urging the administration to move the terror trials out of the city. "There's nothing wrong with making a change."

    Democrats have steadily turned against the administration's plan to try Mohammed and other suspects in New York, with several Democratic senators and a member of New York's delegation, Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D), calling for moving the trial.

    "There are other places to try it in the U.S. that are much more remote, much less a target, and much less a squatting ground for propaganda around the world," Feinstein explained, though she declined to suggest where the administration might move the trials.

    DiFi is no better than a (none / 0) (#29)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 04:16:47 PM EST
    Republican on crime issues. She often teams with Orrin Hatch and Joe Lieberman on bills.

    I'm coming to realize that (none / 0) (#40)
    by MKS on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 04:41:39 PM EST
    She was cavalier about the human rights record under Negroponte when he was U.S. Ambassador to Honduras....

    And... (none / 0) (#49)
    by lentinel on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 05:06:50 PM EST
    let us not forget that we got Joe Biden as Vice-President.

    Bloomberg can be placated (none / 0) (#13)
    by vicndabx on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 02:56:44 PM EST
    with some money.  I think the "opposes" part is a bit misleading.  We are facing serious budget shortfalls - they're talking about ending school bus/train passes for crissakes.  Bloomberg, ever the fiscal hawk, is concerned, rightly so.  The clip I saw this AM seemed more like a negotiating tactic than anything else.

    Personally, I think the trial should be held here, us citizens of NYC deserve a little payback.

    I think money is the bigger issue (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by nycstray on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:06:37 PM EST
    but I gots to tell ya, I'm sure glad I don't live or work in that area if they go forward!

    Yes sir... (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by kdog on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:56:02 PM EST
    the crimes he's accused of occurred here, he should be tried here...no doubt.

    I don't what to say about my fellow NY'ers who are scared to try him here...except maybe they need to look back to those dark days after 9/11 and remember what NY grit and toughness and courage looks like.  I know its hard after 9+ years of the spread of fear as policy...but anything less just ain't the NY I grew up in.


    The crimes (none / 0) (#23)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 04:04:26 PM EST
    also occurred in Virginia and Pennsylvania....

    What "fellow NYer's" (none / 0) (#27)
    by nycstray on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 04:16:08 PM EST
    are you speaking of?

    Some of the cats... (none / 0) (#50)
    by kdog on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 05:59:45 PM EST
    at work, some of the cats who have had letters published in "Voice of The People" lately...its embarassing imo.  Not tryin' to pick on you old pal:)

    I might not be downtown everyday but my uncle and cousin got a truck route around Chinatown...we're all at risk everyday of death and even violent death...you do the right thing till that day comes, and I think that thing is trying his arse here...only we shoulda done it not long after he was captured.  Kill people here (or in DC/VA/PA, point taken jb) you get tried here, untortured, speedily, and with a vigorous defense on your behalf.  I thought thats how we do...whether with ease or with great difficulty.


    For me, this has nothing to do with (none / 0) (#53)
    by nycstray on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 07:03:36 PM EST
    "risk" or "fear" etc. it's about livelihood and budgets :)

    I agree we should have done it sooner, but then or now, I'm not down with the impact the trial will have, especially since the Feds seem to want to make a circus out of it. I honestly think there's a bigger chance of some pro-USA dude going after the defendant than any terrorist threat. (can you say handgun?) And that we can handle without all the Bull and loss of business, billion dollar hit to our budget, and total disruption of people's lives. Me, I'd move the h*ll away from there if the trial went forward in circus mode. Now if the Feds want to foot the bill, including compensating the businesses and folks living there, loss of city revenue (parking meters, taxes, etc) for the circus . . . . we can talk.

    I think we should keep the trial close, but find a better venue. Your Uncle and Cousin might have a bit easier time doing their biz ta boot!

    I can't wait to move to my new sleepy 'hood by the bay that is totally irrelevant in all this BS :)


    The old Giants Stadium will be free (none / 0) (#54)
    by steviez314 on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 07:25:03 PM EST
    starting next year.

    lol!~ (none / 0) (#55)
    by nycstray on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 07:42:56 PM EST
    isn't it free now? Is Yankee Stadium still standing? We could play Frank at the end of each day {grin}

    Funny thing is, when I first heard they were going to have the trial here, I didn't think much about it, nor paid much attention about it. Never occurred to me the trial would be a Fed security circus. Or last so long. And the idea that it would become a terrorist target?!  

    I'm sure not going to miss the drama when I leave here . . .


    Is there some reasons why ... (none / 0) (#18)
    by nyrias on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:38:26 PM EST
    the trials have to be in NYC?

    There seems to be enough valid reason to move them to some place else.

    venue is proper (none / 0) (#30)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 04:20:18 PM EST
    where the crime occurred. The attacks in NYC mean venue is proper there. Depending on the charges, venue might be proper in other jurisdictions as well, but NYC sustained the biggest losses and the US Attorneys Office, defense bar and judges have more experience trying these cases. NYC was the right call.

    Move them to DC (none / 0) (#26)
    by kidneystones on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 04:15:49 PM EST
    That's one way to put the issue in sharp perspective.

    If there's no risk, then there's no risk.


    it's not a risk (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 04:26:07 PM EST
    it's an inconvenience.

    If you don't want to live by the rule of law, just skip the trial and call out the firing squad. If that's not what you are suggesting, than this is the alternative, and like jury duty, it can be inconvenient but that's a price we pay to have a full, fair and open criminal justice system. People should be happy to sacrifice some convenience for the benefits such a system provides.


    Um, to say that it's inconvenient (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by nycstray on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 04:59:52 PM EST
    is a tad underplaying the concerns: budget and economic. yes, the traffic issue could be a royal PIA, but if the trial drags on for 2yrs as Paterson mentioned, that's one heck of an economic hit to lower Manhattan and NYC in general. And I'm guessing the security costs could be fairly crippling to our tanking city budget (5 billion gap at the moment).

    I personally have no problem with them holding it here on principle (crime happened here), but moving the trial just outside of NYC might be a good alternative. Still tried in the state and close to the crime, but without some of the problems. Wouldn't be the first time a trial was moved . . .


    DC (none / 0) (#32)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 04:24:13 PM EST
    Has no jurisdiction as no crime was committed here (As Jeralyn explained above)