Military judge at Gitmo sets USS Cole bombing trial date

Aug. 27, 2013 at 11:49 AM
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GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- The military judge in the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, case on the USS Cole bombing set a Sept. 14, 2014, provisional trial date, court documents indicated.

The judge, Army Col. James Pohl, scheduled the date in an order that listed scheduling benchmarks toward the death-penalty tribunal of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, 48, accused of masterminding al-Qaida's 2000 suicide bombing of the Cole off the Yemeni coast, The Miami Herald reported Monday.

Seventeen U.S. sailors were killed and dozens of others were wounded.

The order, posted on the war court's website Monday, instructed the government to release all discovery to defense teams by Sept. 20, among other things.

If the schedule holds, the Nashiri case would be the military commission's first death-penalty case heard at Guantanamo Bay's war court, the Herald said. Pentagon prosecutors sought a Sept. 22, 2014, trial date in the case against Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four accused co-conspirators in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. Mohammed is the self-proclaimed mastermind of the attacks.

Under the USS Cole timetable Pohl set, selection of military officers who would sit on the jury would begin June 30, 2014, at the war court. The members of the panel then disperse back to their bases until the trial.

In a separate matter, the Herald said the Nashiri docket indicated Navy Cmdr. Brian Mizer was assigned to the case as a Pentagon defense counsel. Mizer defended Osama bin Laden's driver, Salim Hamdan, during his war crimes trial in the summer of 2008. Hamdan was convicted of providing material support for terrorism but the conviction was overturned on appeal.

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