Major Jason Wright, a military lawyer representing the interests of accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, is retiring from the U.S. Army, which was trying to force him off the defense team on the grounds that he needed to attend a graduate course this year.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is one of five accused Sept. 11 co-conspirators now in pretrial proceedings before a military commission at the Guantanamo Bay naval base, where they are also being held. The case is one of the most important in U.S. history, and the defendants could face the death penalty.
Every year, all Army majors designated as attorney must attend a graduate course in Virginia. Though he deferred the course last year, the Judge Advocate General of the Army denied Major Wrights request this year, meaning that he must either leave the case to attend the course or resign from the army.
“I had to make a legal and ethical decision as to what I was going to do in the best interest of my client, and I chose the option which 100 percent of all defense lawyers would choose. It’s one of these law school scenarios; it’s just being played out in real life.” Continue reading