Manhattan Elected Officials Urge U.S. Attorney General to Conduct Comprehensive Evaluation of 9/11 Trial Sites and Request Meeting
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Borough President Scott Stringer, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and City Councilmember Margaret Chin sent the following letter (also attached), regarding the federal trials of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other accused terrorists, to United States Attorney General Eric Holder:
January 28, 2010
The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530
Dear Attorney General Holder:
As the elected officials representing lower Manhattan, we are writing to you regarding the Administration’s proposal to locate the 9/11 terror trials in downtown Manhattan.
We support the Administration’s decision to bring those responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center to justice in federal civilian court, and we believe that this decision represents a victory for the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law. However, we are concerned that the Administration has not fully considered the impact that the trials would have on lower Manhattan in choosing the Moynihan Courthouse in Foley Square. Indeed, the lower Manhattan neighborhoods in which this courthouse is located are only now recovering from the physical, emotional and financial devastation caused by the 9/11 terrorist attacks and therefore the impacts of this trial site choice are likely to be extremely burdensome.
As such, we respectfully request that your office conduct a full and thorough examination of all potentially viable trial sites within the Southern District of New York in order to assess each site’s safety and security requirements, impacts to the surrounding residential and business communities, and financial implications. Without such a full evaluation, it is impossible to determine which Southern District location choice would be optimal.
We further respectfully request a meeting with you, as soon as possible, to discuss these matters and the process by which the ultimate determination on the location of the federal criminal trials will be made.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward to hearing from you soon.
Congressman Jerrold Nadler
Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver
State Senator Daniel Squadron
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio
Borough President Scott Stringer
Council Speaker Christine Quinn
Councilmember Margaret Chin