The accused mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks has a right to justify the worst terror attack on U.S. soil at his death-penalty trial, and that requires exchanging material about jihad with his defense team, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's lawyer told an Army judge Wednesday.
Veteran criminal defense attorney David Nevin invoked "recent history, ancient history" and "impressions throughout many areas of the world of Western oppression" in an argument to bring Guantanamo prison's legal-mail handling policy in line with what he cast as American Bar Association standards.
And in the process, Nevin suggested that the alleged terrorist who sports a hunting jacket and orange-dyed beard in court might defend the 9/11 hijackings that killed 2,976 people in New York, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon.
"Mr. Mohammed has a right to come here and put the events of Sept. 11 in historical perspective," Nevin said.
Army Col. James L. Pohl, the judge, betrayed no reaction as Nevin argued such a defense is part of "thousands upon hundreds of thousands of cases going on in the United States today" - and that "the reasons for the actions that led to the events of Sept. 11" might persuade the judge or a military jury to either acquit Mohammed or spare him execution.