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Cold feet by NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and complaints from residents who say the 9/11 trials should be moved out of Manhattan has prompted the Obama administration to consider a backup plan.
According to the Wall Street Journal, White House officials seem to be open to moving the 9/11 trials away from downtown Manhattan. Currently, they are discussing a contingency plan amid the growing number of objections to hosting terror trials in NYC.
As previously discussed, business and community groups as well as elected officials say skyrocketing costs of 9/11 security plans are more than the city can bear. In addition to what could be multiyear trials, they say it will bring traffic congestion and invite more attacks.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has pegged the costs at about $1 billion and said he expects Washington to pay for it.
As previously discussed, the original plans are for professed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other 9/11 detainees to be tried in a civilian court in lower Manhattan.
Lawmakers including Rep. Peter King have been pressing the government to find another venue for the trial. King introduced "Stopping Criminal Trials for Guantanamo Terrorists Act," H.R. 4542 to block 9/11 trials in New York City. The bill would prohibit the use of Justice Department funds to try Guantanamo detainees in federal civilian courts.
Recently, Mayor Nicholas Valentine of Newburgh tossed his hat in the ring and offered up his town in upstate New York to host of the 9/11 trials. The city, 90-minute commute from Manhattan, has a new state-of-the art courthouse than can easily be secured, he said.
Discussions are now underway between the White House and the Justice Department as they look into alternative locations should it become impossible to proceed with holding the 9/11 trials in lower Manhattan.
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