Ghailani Acquitted On Major Terrorism Charges — Rep. King Responds With Call To Change Legal System

The trial of alleged Al Qaeda accomplice Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani has resulted in an acquittal on all major terrorism charges in New York. Ghailani was charged with crimes related to the 1998 suicide bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa that killed 224 people, including 12 Americans. I will be discussing the verdict tonight on Hardball.

Ghailani, a Tanzanian, was convicted only of one count of conspiracy to damage or destroy U.S. property but cleared of 276 counts of murder and attempted murder. The important thing to note here is that this is a unanimous series of acquittal votes — not some hung jury.

The Obama Administration made little secret that it wanted the trial in New York — the scene of the 9-11 attacks. It did not help with the jury which found the evidence (as opposed to the emotions) lacking. The government still intends to seek life without parole on that one conspiracy charge.

In a truly disturbing response to the verdict, Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.) denounced the jury verdict as “a total miscarriage of justice” and insisted “this tragic verdict demonstrates the absolute insanity of the Obama administration’s decision to try Al Qaeda terrorists in civilian courts.” Of course, no one would accuse New Yorkers as being ambivalent on terrorism.

Nevertheless, Rep. King’s solution to a jury of citizens acquitting an accused person is to rig the system to avoid such juries in the future. It is the most raw demonstration that the interest in the tribunal system is the view that it is outcome determinative and pre-set for convictions. Rep. King appears to be joining the Queen of Hearts that we must have a system that guarantees “sentence first, verdict afterwards.”

Here is tonight’s debate with Governor Pataki on Hardball (title on youtube is not my own):

Source: LA Times

Jonathan Turley

130 thoughts on “Ghailani Acquitted On Major Terrorism Charges — Rep. King Responds With Call To Change Legal System”

  1. anon nurse,

    It should be stipulated Bush was only elected once and under a cloud of fear. He was appointed President by his dad’s buddies on SCOTUS the first time.

  2. Swarthmore mom,

    Quite the scenario… (And there were plenty of people who never believed that George W. would be elected.)

  3. anon nurse A strong third party challenge would throw the election into the House, and the republicans would chose Palin.

  4. Swarthmore mom,

    I didn’t know. Saw your “Palin/Perry prediction” — a frightening prospect… Hopefully they would lose but, given the craziness in America, anything’s possible, it seems.

  5. Michael Goldfarb (according to Greenwald and the tweet that is posted at the link in my last comment):

    “Ghailani never should have been able to leave that CIA black site with a pulse.”

  6. from “Various Matters” by Glenn Greenwald (refer to link at end of comment)

    4) If anyone possesses any lingering doubt that Michael Goldfarb — aide to John McCain and Bill Kristol, among others — is one of the most deranged individuals in our political culture, please review this message he sent out on Twitter two days ago:

    (If this doesn’t work, put “http://” in front of it, or go to Glenn Greenwald’s article: )

  7. “For a man who has a problem with Ex Parte McCardle”

    BBB: In other words, here’s Bob’s chance to present something irrelevant to act as a distraction for the weak argument that follows.

    No, I was simply pointing out how your objection to McCardle wasn’t based in law but simply your feelings about the particular facts of the case.

    “I’m keen to guess where you think the document specifically empowers the Fed to wage war against a state of mind, tactic or gerund form of a verb.”

    BBB: Yep. As expected. Instead of crying foul, why don’t you tells us where the Constitution limits Congress after granting them the authority to declare war? Do you think that power is limited to war against a state(s)? If so; Why?

    That is to say the expanded powers used to prosecute wars cannot be invoked simply by invoking a particular rhetoric. Simply because you can put the words ‘war on terror’ together it does not follow that you can lay claim to war powers.

    BBB: Warrantless wiretapping: IMO unconstitutional if land line. It gets iffy if cellular (too easy to accidentally intercept to have any reasonable expectation of privacy)

    Actually, you have no case law stating that. All you do have is the Obama Administration merely claiming the public has no expectation of privacy as to tracking the whereabouts of cell phones. And even that, under current case law, wouldn’t pass muster in New York. Fed sets the floor, states set the ceiling of rights.

    BBB: suspension of habeas corpus sans insurrection or rebellion: How about “in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it”? The purpose of suspension is to let the government focus on the rebellion or invasion, not to arbitrarily deny rights. Any U.S. citizen apprehended within the U.S. undoubtedly has a right to habeas corpus.

    Not right now. Right now, thanks to folks like you, the president can make any U.S. citizen disappear. Congratulations.

    BBB: executive assassination orders: It would depend on the specific instance. If someone is on the battlefield (or in the caves) with the enemy, I wouldn’t even think twice about making the call. You call it assasination. I call them a direct casualty of war. Piss on the traitors!

    But that’s not the case, is it. Rather it’s just an extension of your treating the constitution as a urinal puck by granting the executive monarch powers out of your own fear.

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