9/11 Mastermind Goads Others Into Dropping Lawyers

KSM dominates co-defendants, court
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2008 10:45 AM CDT
Four of the Sept. 11 attacks co-conspirator suspects, at left, attend their arraignment.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, Pool)
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(Newser) – Self-described superterrorist Khalid Sheik Mohammed proved himself still the mastermind in court yesterday, urging his four co-defendants in the 9/11 plot to drop their lawyers and defend themselves, which all four had done by the end of the day. The Washington Post paints the scene, in which the men are talking, laughing, and joking—until one questions the wisdom of self-defense, and KSM spits back, “What are you, in the American Army now?”

An attorney for one of the other defendants claimed his client was intimidated by Mohammed, who used the court appearance for an anti-American rant. In an odd twist, the decision to defend themselves means the accused terrorists will have access to classified materials in preparing their case. They were cautioned not to discuss their interrogations, and a security official even muted audio when they disobeyed—blocking the proceedings to media.