A Guantanamo Bay judge on Wednesday weighed replacing a lawyer for a Yemeni suspect in the Sept. 11 attacks who says he does not trust her to represent him in the death penalty case.
Judge Army Colonel James Pohl said during a pre-trial hearing that the defendant, Walid bin Attash, needed to show a good reason why attorney Cheryl Bormann should be replaced.
"Your client wants to remove a counsel that has been representing him for more than four years. He's got to show good cause and good cause is not just, 'I don't like her,'" Pohl told Michael Schwartz, a Air Force lawyer also representing bin Attash.
Bin Attash, one of five suspects being tried over the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, had asked to defend himself in the trial at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, saying he did not trust Bormann.
He clarified during Wednesday's hearing that he wanted to replace Bormann, a Chicago lawyer and death penalty trial veteran who appears during hearings wearing Muslim garb, with another attorney.
Pohl said that based on his reading of regulations, he would be the one to decide whether she should be replaced, not Marine Brigadier General John Baker, the chief defense counsel.
Bin Attash is charged with hijacking, terrorism, war crimes and conspiring with the Sept. 11 militants who hijacked airliners and slammed them into New York's World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field. Almost 3,000 people were killed in the attacks.
The hearing at Guantanamo Bay for bin Attash, who also allegedly ran an al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan, was carried over closed-circuit television to a media center at Fort Meade, outside Washington.