White House: KSM will be Executed But Civilian Trial Defendants Presumed Innocent

By Fred Lucas | February 17, 2010 | 8:46 PM EST

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed Sept. 11 mastermind, shown shortly after his capture in Pakistan in this March 1, 2003 photo. He and four other Guantanamo Bay detainees will be sent to New York to face trial in a civilian federal court. (AP File Photo)

Washington (CNSNews.com) – White House spokesman Robert Gibbs agreed that part of a civilian trial is the presumption that the accused is innocent until proven guilty, but Gibbs also said that Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, would be "convicted"  and  "executed for his crimes." 
On Wednesday, CNSNews.com asked Gibbs, “The vice president (Joe Biden) said on Meet the Press that he guarantees that KSM (Khalid Sheik Mohammed) would not be acquitted. Isn't part of a civilian trial presumed innocent?”
Gibbs said, “Yes.” 
CNSNews.com then asked, “And does the administration believe that he (KSM) is presumed innocent?”
Gibbs answered, “The administration is in charge of presenting the case against an individual that killed 3,000 people on American soil. I not only think he'll be convicted, I think he'll be executed for his crimes.”
In a follow-up question, CNSNews.com asked, “Can you make that guarantee though?”
Gibbs replied, “I think he’s going to be executed for his crime.”

In this image from video released by NBC, Vice President Joe Biden appears on "Meet the Press" from Vancouver, Canada, on Sunday, Feb. 14, 2010. (AP Photo/NBC, William Plowman)

Attorney General Eric Holder announced late last year that Mohammed’s trial would take place in federal court in New York City. However, city officials oppose the trial there because of costs and security concerns.
On NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, Feb. 14, host David Gregory asked Vice President Joe Biden, “The reason for a civilian trial as given by the president and others was a question of perception: That it was very important that the rest of the world see that we treated Khalid Sheikh Mohammed fairly. But hasn’t the administration already made the decision that even if he were to be acquitted that he would never be released?”
Biden answered by guaranteeing that Khalid Sheik Mohammed would not be acquitted.
“Look, there is no doubt that he would not be acquitted,” said Biden. “The facts we have are overwhelming. We are absolutely confident he will be convicted and for whatever he is tried. The attorney general made the decision that he should be tried in the court of the greatest jurisdiction, which was in New York City.”