The move, in hearings prior to the trials of alleged World Trade Center masterminds Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi bin al-Shibh, came after the FBI allegedly attempted to turn a legal team member into an informant.
The judge, U.S. Army Col. James Pohl, said independent lawyers may be assigned to the case, to advise the defendants of possible conflicts between their defense team’s capability of defending them, and their lawyers’ interest in defending themselves against an apparent FBI investigation.
On Apr. 6, a classification adviser on Bin al-Shibh’s legal team signed a document indicating an ongoing role in informing on the team for the FBI. At issue was the release of an unclassified manifesto of Mohammed’s. The chief prosecutor in the case, Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, provided the document to an FBI agent on his team. Martins and his team have denied knowledge of any contact between the FBI and the defense.
Family members of Sept. 11, 2001 victims, who attended the proceedings this week, expressed anger and frustration at the lack of progress in the trial. They referred to FBI involvement as an act of sabotage, and added the defense counsel was disrespecting the memories of the victims by filing motions to delay the trial.