He was tried in federal court, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison. During the trial, the judge barred testimony from a key witness because investigators learned of the witness as a result of information obtained during coercive CIA interrogations. Mr. Ghailani faced 285 charges, including more than 200 murder counts. The jury acquitted him of all charges, except one conspiracy count.
Supporters of Guantánamo and military commissions pointed to his acquittal on 284 charges as evidence that special commissions with different rules of evidence were necessary to try terror suspects.
Those favoring use of the criminal justice system emphasized the fact that Ghailani was convicted and received a life sentence. They said it was proof that US civilian courts are up to the task of bringing accused terrorists to justice.
The next step was to bring alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to New York City to stand trial for the attacks on the World Trade Center. Members of Congress pushed back, saying he didn’t deserve a trial in federal court and that the case would paint a fresh bull’s eye on Manhattan for would-be terrorists. In the face of mounting opposition, the Obama administration reversed its plan for a New York City trial and put its plans to close Guantánamo on hold.