By MICHAEL C. DORF
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Earlier this week, the Bush Administration announced plans to seek the death penalty for Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and five other persons who allegedly played a role in the 9/11 attacks. The Administration plans to try the six defendants before military commissions, as authorized by the Military Commissions Act (MCA) of 2006. But that plan raises a host of difficult legal questions.
Will the defendants or at least their lawyers have access to all of the evidence against them, and if not, what measures will be used to ensure the reliability of that evidence? Will the government seek to introduce statements made by Mohammed as a result of the waterboarding to which the Administration acknowledges he was subjected, or would that be deemed a violation of Section 948r(b) of the MCA, which forbids military commissions from admitting any "statement obtained by use of torture"?
Would other evidence derived from such statements be admissible? And so on.