The Biden administration is considering plea agreements for the suspected architect of the September 11, 2001, attacks and four other cohorts that would mean they never face the death penalty.
The Associated Press gained possession of a letter that was sent to several families of the victims of the terrorist attacks, which provided notice that a plea deal could soon be negotiated. In the letter the FBI and the Pentagon advised the families that a plea deal could eliminate the possibility of the death penalty for the suspects.
“The Office of the Chief Prosecutor has been negotiating and is considering entering into pre-trial agreements,” the letter reportedly said.
It also allegedly told families that while no plea agreement “has been finalized, and may never be finalized, it is possible that a [pre-trial agreements] in this case would remove the possibility of the death penalty.”
The letter was dated August 1, 2023, and gave recipients until August 21, 2023 to reply to the FBI's victim services division with any comments or questions about a possible plea agreement.
The FBI did not provide comment about the situation to the Associated Press.
There is no trial date for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the man who the 9/11 Commission concluded was behind the idea of the 2001 attacks. Mohammed allegedly suggested an attack on the United States to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who then authorized a plan to be developed.
Four other defendants who would benefit from the plea deal reportedly supported the hijackers of the planes in various ways.
The processing of the men has had repeated delays and legal disputes according to the Associated Press, specifically in relation to interrogations and alleged torture by the CIA at Guantanamo Bay.
Jim Riches, whose son was a firefighter who died on 9/11, believes the defendants should be tried in civilian court. The retired deputy fire chief from New York City had previously gone to hearings in Guantanamo Bay in 2009 but has lost hope in the process.
“How can you have any faith in it?” Riches asked. The letter “gives us a little hope,” he added.
“No matter how many letters they send, until I see it, I won’t believe it,” said Riches, about justice being served.
Another recipient of the letter, Peter Brady, said that it's about “holding people responsible, and they’re taking that away with this plea."
Brady, whose father was killed in the terrorist attacks, said that the case “needs to go through the legal process,” not be settled in a plea deal.
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