Prosecutors Hope Plea Deals Will Close Gitmo Cases

Federal, Military prosecutors fight for rare testimony
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 13, 2009 4:45 PM CST
In this Monday, Jan. 19, 2009 file photo of a sketch by courtroom artist Janet Hamlin, reviewed by the U.S. Military, the five Sept. 11, 2001 attack co-defendants sit during a hearing at the U.S. Military...   (AP Photo/Janet Hamlin, Pool, File)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Federal and military prosecutors looking to convict Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other high-profile Guantanamo Bay detainees are competing with each other to offer plea bargains to lower-profile inmates in exchange for testimony. Some detainees have remained at Gitmo because they are considered too difficult to prosecute, and the evidence against some of them is so thin that in one case, a prosecutor asked a defendant to suggest a charge he’d be willing to cop to.

With the Obama administration’s Jan. 22 deadline for closing Gitmo looming, "there is an absence of strategy here that has given way to rivalry," one official tells ProPublica. Others worry that the legal wrangling could damage the proceedings “You can't have someone being fought over by two different systems," another official said. "It is not illegal, but it's certainly corrupt."