His attorneys were not allowed to mention the original “dirty bomb” allegations, nor the fact that he was held without an attorney for 3 1/2 years. AP story here.
More to come. Meanwhile read my previous blog post here. And our full archival coverage of the Padilla case here.
Update: Condemnation of the government’s handling of the Padilla case is near universal today. From the normally conservative Washington Post editorial pages:
The months of trial in South Florida were remarkable for being relatively unremarkable…. What was extraordinary, and reprehensible, was how long Mr. Padilla had to wait for the kind of due process most Americans take for granted.
Mr. Padilla was detained in 2002 in Chicago on suspicion that he was trying to assemble a “dirty bomb.” He was first designated a “material witness” and later an “enemy combatant” and held in federal detention cells or military brigs for years by a government intent on keeping him out of a federal court system where he would be endowed with rights — including access to a lawyer. In this alternative universe, government interrogators, with no checks from any other authority, used sensory and sleep deprivation, solitary confinement and other forms of abuse to squeeze information from the prisoner. Mr. Padilla was, in short, “disappeared” into a system with methods we object to in the strongest terms when they are used in police states around the world.
From the New York Times:
On the way to this verdict, the government repeatedly trampled on the Constitution, and its prosecution of Mr. Padilla was so cynical and inept that the crime he was convicted of — conspiracy to commit terrorism overseas — bears no relation to the ambitious plot to wreak mass destruction inside the United States, which the Justice Department first loudly proclaimed. Even with the guilty verdict, this conviction remains a shining example of how not to prosecute terrorism cases.