Long slog ahead in 9/11 trial at Guantanamo Bay
(CBS News) GUANTANAMO BAY - The five accused al Qaeda terrorists who disrupted their military tribunal hearing yesterday don't have another court date for at least five weeks. But the aftershocks from their actions extend far beyond Guantanamo Bay.
CBS News correspondent Jan Crawford reports Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other men are accused of terrorism conspiracy and the murders of 2,976 people killed on 9/11. Their arraignment Saturday lasted 13 hours, and the defendants didn't even say a word.
The five 9/11 suspects sat silently during the arraignment, taking breaks for scheduled prayers, but the hearing ended late last night with outrage.
With family members watching from the back of the courtroom, Ramzi Binalshibh, accused of helping facilitate the attacks, turned around with a broad smile and gave a thumbs up.
One family responded to Binalshibh with an expletive. The exchange captured the families' feelings of rage after watching the suspects, sitting in silence, stonewalling the proceedings and refusing to look at the judge or answer his repeated questions.
James Connell, a lawyer for accused money man Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, called the suspects courtroom behavior "peaceful resistance" and said it was deliberate.
"I cannot give you outside information about any strategy. But I will tell you certainly there appeared to be a coordinated strategy," Connell said.
The defense lawyers clashed repeatedly with the judge, turning a routine court proceeding into one that stretched late into the night, signaling the trials could drag on indefinitely.
"I don't have confidence that this proceeding will ever come to a resolution," Connell said.
Cheryl Bormann, a lawyer for Walid bin Attash, accused of helping train the hijackers, wore an abaya in yesterday's hearing and urged female prosecutors, most in military uniforms with skirts, to dress more conservatively.
"There was somebody dressed in a way that was not in keeping with my client's religious beliefs," Bormann
Speaking to the press today, Brigadier Gen. Mark Martins, the chief prosecutor, defended his team.
"The women on the prosecution team are dressed in an appropriate and professional manner," Martins said.
The defense lawyers also said they would seek to make the trials about torture the suspects allegedly endured when they were interrogated after their capture and before they arrived at Guantanamo.
The mention of torture led to one of the most dramatic episodes in the hearing when Bornamm said that bin Attash had scars from his alleged mistreatment. He actually removed off his tunic to show his bare chest. The judge immediately ordered him to put it back on.
- Jan Crawford
Jan Crawford is CBS News Chief Political and Legal Correspondent. She is from "Crossroads," Alabama.Follow on Twitter »
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