Fox News' Neil Cavuto allowed Rudy Giuliani to criticize the Obama administration's decision to try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM) in the U.S. criminal justice system in New York City as a "terrible, terrible mistake" because KSM "should be prosecuted in a military tribunal." Cavuto did not ask Giuliani to reconcile his statements with his 2006 reported praise of the federal trial of Zacarias Moussaoui -- who was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for his role in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks -- of which he said: "It does demonstrate that we can give people a fair trial, that we are exactly what we say we are. We are a nation of law."
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Giuliani attacked administration's decision to try KSM in civilian court
Giuliani: "They should be prosecuted in a military tribunal." During his interview on Fox News' Your World, Giuliani asserted that KSM and four others accused of being involved in the 9-11 attacks should be "treated as war criminals, because it was an act of war" and that "[t]hey should be prosecuted in a military tribunal. We would not have tried the people who attacked Pearl Harbor in a civilian court in Hawaii for what they did." He also invoked the 9-11 terrorist attacks, asserting, in part: "[O]ne of the things I thought we learned from September 11 was that we were in a state of denial before September 11. We went through this once before. In 1993, we had people terrorist-attack the World Trade Center. We did not recognize it as an act of war. We tried them in the Southern district in New York; it did no good."
Giuliani: "[O]ur criminal justice system is geared to let guilty people go free. ... Very different situation when you're at war." During his interview, Giuliani repeatedly pointed to various aspects of the U.S. justice system that he argued impair its ability to deal with terrorists. For instance, Giuliani pointed to the "vagaries of the criminal justice system," asserting, "[Y]ou're going to have motions to dismiss the case. You're going to have motions for a change of venue." Furthering his argument against trying suspected terrorists in U.S. civilian courts, he claimed that "[c]riminal defense lawyers are going to have the obligation to try and get Khalid Shaikh Mohammad acquitted. ... That is their obligation." Finally, Giuliani argued that the justice system's presumption of innocence standard is contradictory to trying suspected terrorists, declaring that the decision to try KSM in New York City is a "terrible, terrible mistake":
GIULIANI: [O]ur criminal justice system is geared to let guilty people go free if there's any doubt. That's the way it is -- that better to have nine guilty go free than one innocent person convicted. Very different situation when you're at war. So when we see all of these procedural problems that are going to be created over the months and years that this could take with these terrorists sitting here, I think we're going to realize that this was a terrible, terrible mistake. [Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto, 11/13/09]
Flashback: Giuliani reportedly said Moussaoui's conviction in federal court was "symbol of American justice"
Giuliani reportedly praised Moussaoui's 2006 trial as evidence "we can give people a fair trial." After Moussaoui's trial resulted in a sentence of life in prison without parole, Giuliani reportedly praised the legal process as demonstrating "that we can give people a fair trial, that we are exactly what we say we are. We are a nation of law." He added that Moussaoui will "be a symbol of American justice." He also reportedly said he was "in awe of our system." [New York Daily News, 5/4/2006]
Following trial, Giuliani reportedly said: "America won tonight." Agence France Presse reported: " 'America won tonight,' [Giuliani] said, arguing that the United States had upheld the worth of its legal system in the eyes of the world." AFP also quoted him saying, "The greater value I think would have been if he was executed. But the greater value is demonstrating what America is like." [AFP, 05/04/2006]
Giuliani testified in Moussaoui's trial. Giuliani testified during the "sentencing trial" for Moussaoui. According to The New York Times, Giuliani was the Justice Department's "star witness." He "described ... the horrors and lasting grief caused by the Sept. 11 attacks," "alternating between his minute-by-minute personal thoughts and his assessment of the damage and disruption caused by the terrorist attacks." [The New York Times, 4/7/2006]