N.Y. Officials: Sept. 11 Terror Trial in NYC 'Unlikely,' Obama Considering New Location

Concerns Mounting That Congress May Not Fund the Trial

ByABC News
January 29, 2010, 8:57 AM

Jan. 29, 2010— -- Just months after endorsing the Obama administration's plan to try five high-profile terror suspects in a New York City federal court, top New York officials now say the trial should be held elsewhere -- and that it probably will.

Confronting political reality, the Obama administration is now looking for alternate locations to try alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other high-value detainees being held at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba.

New York Gov. David Paterson and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Friday that the anticipated cost of hosting the trials -- and potential unwillingness of Congress to provide federal funds -- could spell economic disaster for the city, which already is facing a massive budget gap.

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"I said it would be phenomenally expensive and it is very disruptive to people who live in the area and businesses in the area," Bloomberg said of his conversations with Obama administration officials. "So the economic impact is detrimental, and nobody knows how big. And it would be better to do it elsewhere if they could find a venue."

Gov. David Paterson echoed Bloomberg's concerns, telling reporters at a press conference on Haiti relief that "we are elated our concerns are being listened to by the president and federal government."

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelley later said that it's "unlikely" the case will go forward in the city at all.

Paterson said he instructed state agencies to assist in the search for alternate venues and will be meeting with the U.S. Marshals Service on Monday.