Judge Napolitano: 9/11 Suspects' Courtroom Antics Could Cause the Trial to Take Years
The 9/11 self-proclaimed mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-defendants were disruptive throughout their hearing at Guantanamo Bay over the weekend. Their antics caused the hearing to last 13 hours and included taking off their earphones that provided Arabic translations, insisting that the 20-plus page document of the charges against them be read aloud, partially disrobing, making a paper airplane and placing it on top of the microphone, etc.
Catherine Herridge, who was watching the hearing at Gitmo, pointed out the absurdity that the suspects took out the Arabic translation earphones even though at one point during the hearing they began reading an English-language magazine, The Economist.
Judge Andrew Napolitano said on Studio B, “Everybody is entitled to be present at their trial to confront the evidence against them and confront the witnesses against them.
That has been tempered somewhat by the Military Commissions Act which excludes the defendants from hearing certain witnesses and looking at certain documents.”
He explained that the defendants can give up their right to be present in the courtroom by engaging in “behavior that unnecessarily disrupts or lengthens to an intolerable point the trial, the court can exclude them and put them in a place where they can observe what goes on but their antics won’t interrupt.”
Going forward, Judge Napolitano said, “If the court permits them to stay in the courtroom and they continue like this, this trial will take years and … they haven’t even picked a jury yet.”