“Families are furious about this,” said Debra Burlingame, whose brother Chic Burlingame was the American Airlines pilot of one of the planes hijacked on Sept. 11. She said more than 300 family members have implored the administration not to move the trial to New York. “They know we don’t support this. We support military commissions but they are going to see a wave of fury and I don’t think they’re prepared for it,” she said Friday after the decision became public…
“This is all going to be about waterboarding and talking about how they were ‘tortured.’ Their lawyers are going turn these people into victims,” she said.
Whether the claims of torture could actually derail a trial is less clear. There is a risk that a judge might consider the actions to be “outrageous government conduct” — a finding which could lead to dismissal of all charges. However, many experts think it is dubious that a judge, especially a New York-based judge, would make such a ruling in favor of the alleged Sept. 11 plotters.
“Federal judges in New York, but really across the country, too, have a history of being quite deferential to the government in terrorism cases,” said Heather Hurlburt of the National Security Network, a Democratic group which favors bringing terror trials in civilian courts.