Senate Judiciary Chairman: ‘Would Be A Prosecutor’s Dream To Try’ Sept. 11 Mastermind ‘In A Federal Court’

By Nicholas Ballasy | April 4, 2011 | 5:29 PM EDT

( – While the Obama administration has decided to prosecute Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) told reporters it would have been a “prosecutor’s dream” to try the case in civilian, federal court.

On Capitol Hill on Monday, Leahy said, “I talked with the attorney general [Eric Holder] this morning. As a former prosecutor -- both of us as former prosecutors -- I think we would have loved to have been the ones to prosecute the case. If you read the indictment that’s now been unsealed, the case is something I think a prosecutor can easily win in federal court. We’ve demonstrated to the rest of the world that our court system works very well.”

Leahy continued, “I have a huge amount of faith in our federal system of prosecutors and courts. I’ve seen the evidence in this case. It would be a prosecutor’s dream to try it in a federal court.”

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

“I understand the reasons why some do not want it here,” he said.  “I’m convinced he [Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, or KSM] would have been convicted in a federal court and would have faced the most severe of potential penalties. But anyway, it will be wrapped up one way or another.”

With the Obama administration’s new decision – a reversal over previous statements about the case potentially being tried in a civilian court in New York City – KSM and his accomplices will be tried by a military commission at Guantanamo Bay.