Accused 9/11 Mastermind Seeking Way Out of Death Penalty
The accused mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, has, in order to avoid the death penalty, offered to provide testimony regarding his role in the worst act of terrorism in modern US history. Mohammed has reportedly agreed to give a deposition to lawyers representing individuals and businesses who are suing Saudi Arabia for billions of dollars in damages due to the Muslim kingdom’s alleged backing of the perpetrators. Riyadh has denied any involvement in orchestrating the attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people when terrorists deliberately crashed civilian airplanes into New York City’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon located near Washington, D.C. Another aircraft went down in a Pennsylvania field after passengers attempted to retake control of the airliner, which might have been targeting the White House. Attorneys said that four other terrorists – two of whom, along with Mohammed, remain detained in Guantanamo Bay prison – had expressed a willingness to allow authorities to question them in the future. According to a letter filed in the US District Court in Manhattan, while Mohammed is not agreeing to talk “at the present time… in the absence of a potential death sentence much broader cooperation would be possible.” Fifteen out of the 19 al-Qaeda members responsible for the attacks were Saudi citizens. Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump this week signed a bill ensuring that a compensation fund for 9/11 victims never runs dry, ending years of political gridlock as the number of first responders dying of Ground Zero-related illnesses continues to rise.