My illusion vanished after the judge's clerk prompted the foreman to deliver the verdict for the fourth count: conspiracy to destroy American property.
"Guilty," the foreman said. It was the last time we would hear that word by itself.
Ghailani did not walk out of the courtroom, and the Obama Administration did not face the awkward prospect of continuing to detain Ghailani as a so-called "enemy combatant" in the war on terror.
There are two ways to look at the verdict, which has reignited a debate over civilian trials versus military commissions for terrorism suspects.
On the one hand, the conviction guarantees a long prison sentence, possibly life, and proves to some that civilian trials can still work for war on terror captives. Ghailani was captured in Pakistan in 2004 and spent five years in custody before his transfer to the federal jail in Manhattan, a period the jury heard nothing about.
On the other hand, Ghailani's acquittal on 99 percent of the counts emboldens the belief held by some that military commissions in Guantanamo - a place the jury never heard mentioned - may be a better option to secure tough justice, although the track record of military commissions is thin and punctuated by light sentences.Continue »
The tight-knit community of September 11th victims family members who became activists mourned the loss of one of their own Friday, when it became known that Beverly Eckert was a passenger aboard Continental Flight 3407, which crashed in Buffalo.
"All of us are in shock," said Carie Lemack, who lost her mother, Judy Larocque, on a plane in America's worst terrorist attack, who channeled her grief into activism along with Beverly.
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