- President Donald Trump called for prosecutors on Wednesday to seek the death penalty for Sayfullo Saipov
- He repeated that demand on Thursday morning while explaining why it would be impractical to send him to the Guantanamo Bay military prison
- Former federal prosecutors have weighed in, saying the president's tweets will make it harder for Saipov to get a fair trial and will hand defense lawyers a gift
- Rep. Steve Scalise, famous for surviving a shooting attack this summer, says 'whatever the harshest penalty that they can put forward is the right thing to do'
- Saipov, 29, was charged Wednesday with providing material support to a terrorist group and committing violence and destruction of motor vehicles
- Saipov killed eight and injured 12 by mowing them down with a rented pick-up truck on the Hudson River bike path in lower Manhattan Tuesday afternoon
- According to a criminal complaint, Saipov admitted that he was inspired by ISIS
Published: 08:11 EDT, 2 November 2017 | Updated: 14:13 EDT, 2 November 2017
Former prosecutors and other notable attorneys expressed alarm on Wednesday and Thursday that President Donald Trump's insistence on the death penalty for accused terrorist Sayfullo Saipov could make it harder for the Department of Justice to convict him.
'Mr. President, we all know he should get the death penalty. But when *you* say it, it makes it harder for DOJ to make that happen,' former New York federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy wrote on Twitter.
Saipov mowed down more than a dozen innocent people Tuesday on a New York City bike path, killing eight of them. But announcing a verdict and sentence ahead of time could be a legally problematic complication.
'NYC terrorist was happy as he asked to hang ISIS flag in his hospital room. He killed 8 people, badly injured 12. SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY!; Trump tweeted Wednesday night.
'Would love to send the NYC terrorist to Guantanamo but statistically that process takes much longer than going through the Federal system,' he added Thursday. 'There is also something appropriate about keeping him in the home of the horrible crime he committed. Should move fast. DEATH PENALTY!'
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President Donald Trump has said he favors the death penalty for accused terrorist Sayfullo Saipov, leading some legal experts to worry that he may be hamstringing prosecutors
Trump made his first mention of the death penalty for Saipov on Wednesday night as many Americans were watching the World Series wrap up
Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, who successfully prosecuted terror sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, chastised the president for making the Justice Department's job harder
'The jury pool is tainted,' warned former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti, hinting that defense lawyers would have a field day with Trump's tweets
Renato Mariotti, a former federal securities fraud prosecutor who is running for attorney general in Illinois as a Democrat, tweeted that 'Trump helped the terrorist' by prejudging his case.
'Now prosecutors will have to spend time dealing with motions that the jury pool is tainted.'
Washington attorney Mark Zaid, who specializes in national security law, tweeted: 'This is called potentially tainting jury pool & could impact alleged perpetrator's ability to secure fair trial. SMH #Unpresidential'
Presidents and governors seldom weigh in on pending criminal cases out of fear that it could prejudice and undermine an otherwise fair trial.
The president in particular is in charge of the Justice Department, which is in control of Saipov's prosecution.
National Security Advisor Gen. H.R. McMaster dodged a question during Thursday's White House press briefing, saying only that 'what the president wants is secure the American people from this threat, and from … mass-murderers like this.'
'And so what he's asked for is options to take a look – to assess if our tremendous law enforcement teams and our judicial system has all the tools they need to be able to combat this threat to the American people.'
Other experts who weighed in included Wall Street Journal correspondent Jess Bravin, who covers the U.S. Supreme Court.
'Defense counsel [is] likely to cite such comments as prejudicial to fair trial or sentencing,' he wrote of Trump's tweets.
'Shake My Head': National security lawyer Mark Zaid called Trump's tweet 'unpresidential'
Trump said Thursday morning for the second time that he wants suspected terrorist Sayfullo Saipov to face the death penalty
Trump on Thursday also walked back his suggestion from a day earlier that Saipov might be sent to rot in the Guantanamo Bay prison camp
The Muslim immigrant from Uzbekistan (above in court sketches) accused of carrying on Tuesday's terror attack in Manhattan entered court Wednesday evening in a wheelchair, handcuffed and with his feet shackled, to face terrorism charges filed against him by the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York
But on 'Fox & Friends,' Trump's go-to morning TV choice, opinions were clear and monolithic on Thursday.
'When I hear people about, "Where are we going to send him? Should we send him to Gitmo?" I say we skip Gitmo and send him straight to hell where he belongs,' former U.S. Navy SEAL Jocko Willink said on the show.
And Louisiana Republican Rep. Steve Scalise, famous for surviving a gunman's attack this summer, said Trump was 'right' to suggest Guantanamo Bay.
Scalise said the Justice Department should 'throw the book at him.'
'Whatever the harshest penalty that they can put forward is the right thing to do,' he said, adding that Saipov 'should absolutely be … eligible and get the death penalty.'
Rep. Steve Scalise, famous for surviving a shooting attack this summer, said on the Fox & Friends program that 'whatever the harshest penalty that they can put forward is the right thing to do'
Former U.S. Navy SEAL Jocko Willink gave Trump some red meat to tweet about, saying of Saipov that the U.S. should 'skip Gitmo and send him straight to hell where he belongs'
Trump had already seized on the deadly New York City truck attack to step up demands for stricter U.S. immigration laws, asking Congress to end a visa program that let the Uzbek suspect into the country.
Former president Barack Obama had tried but failed to shut down the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. No detainee has been sent there since 2008.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters on Wednesday that Trump considers Saipov an 'enemy combatant,' a designation that would make the alleged New York killer ineligible for legal rights afforded to criminal suspects in U.S. courts.
Among those rights, familiar to watchers of TV cop dramas, are the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney present during questioning.
'I believe we would consider this person to be an enemy combatant, yes,' White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters during Wednesday's briefing, while cautioning that she wasn't sure how the federal government would 'process' him.
People gathered for a candlelight vigil for victims of the attack at Foley Square in New York City on Wednesday
The suspect, Saipov, was allegedly an adherent of ISIS and was said to be radicalized domestically
Asked why the 'enemy combatant' label is appropriate, she replied: 'I think the actions that he took certainly justify that.'
Trump had called the suspect 'this animal' and lambasted the U.S. justice system that he leads as 'a joke' and 'a laughing stock.'
Since taking office in January, Trump has sought to increase deportations of illegal immigrants and limit legal immigration.
The Muslim immigrant from Uzbekistan accused of carrying out Tuesday's terror attack in Manhattan entered court Wednesday evening in a wheelchair, handcuffed and with his feet shackled, to face terrorism charges filed against him by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Saipov wore a gray shirt and was surrounded by five guards while in his wheelchair inside a New York federal courthouse after he was charged with providing material support to a terrorist group and committing violence and destruction of motor vehicles.
Saipov drove nearly a mile down the Hudson River bike path before his rampage came to an end when he smashed into a school bus
The above graphic shows how Saipov drove off the West Side Highway and onto the Hudson River bike path on Tuesday
His lawyers said Wednesday they were not seeking bail and a judge ordered him to be held. Saipov did not enter a plea to terrorism charges and a judge set his next court date for November 15.
Authorities say the Uzbek national watched ISIS videos on his cellphone and picked Halloween for the attack on a bike lane in lower Manhattan because he believed more people would be out on the streets.
He also had plans to drive over the Brooklyn Bridge and kill pedestrians on the walking path over the NYC landmark.
Prosecutors said in court papers that Saipov asked to display the ISIS flag in his hospital room where he was recovering from being shot by police.
Saipov 'stated that he felt good about what he had done,' according to court papers.
He left behind knives and a note, handwritten in Arabic, that included Islamic religious references and said 'it will endure' – a phrase that commonly refers to ISIS, FBI agent Amber Tyree said in court papers.
WHO CAN TRUMP PUT IN GITMO?
The Trump administration is constrained by the terms of the most recent congressional Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which dates back to the George W. Bush administration.
Dated three days after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, the AUMF authorizes the President of the United States to use force against anyone who 'planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons.'
Previous administrations have used this congressional go-ahead to justify military action against the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and the ISIS terror army – and they've been on solid legal ground.
What has never been tested, however, is the idea of taking a terror suspect who was captured in the United States and taking military action against him. Sending a prisoner to Guantanamo Bay – a U.S. Navy facility – would be one example.
There are Supreme Court cases that support putting 'enemy combatants' into the hands of military tribunals, and trying them outside the normal criminal court system. But those typically refer to people engaged in an armed conflict on behalf of a country, not a loosely confederated terror movement.
The reason putting terror suspects in 'Gitmo' proved attractive for the Bush administration was that the prison camp is not in the United States. Terrorists captured in the Middle East, for instance, could be held indefinitely without even letting them set foot on U.S. soil.
The case of Sayfullo Saipov, however, is different: He was arrested in New York City and likely is already entitled to some rights under the U.S. Constitution, plus rights afforded under the Geneva Convention.
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Australia resists calls for tougher climate targets
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has resisted pressure to set more ambitious carbon emission targets while other major nations vowed deeper reductions to tackle climate change.
Addressing a global climate summit, Mr Morrison said Australia was on a path to net zero emissions.
But he stopped short of setting a timeline, saying the country would get there “as soon as possible”.
It came as the US, Canada and Japan set new commitments for steeper cuts.
US President Joe Biden, who chaired the virtual summit, pledged to cut carbon emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by the year 2030. This new target essentially doubles the previous US promise.
By contrast, Australia will stick with its existing pledge of cutting carbon emissions by 26%-28% below 2005 levels, by 2030. That’s in line with the Paris climate agreement, though Mr Morrison said Australia was on a pathway to net zero emissions.
“Our goal is to get there as soon as we possibly can, through technology that enables and transforms our industries, not taxes that eliminate them and the jobs and livelihoods they support and create,” he told the summit.
“Future generations… will thank us not for what we have promised, but what we deliver.”
Australia is one of the world’s biggest carbon emitters on a per capita basis. Mr Morrison, who has faced sustained criticism over climate policy, said action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would focus on technology.
The prime minister said Australia is deploying renewable energy 10 times faster than the global average per person, and has the highest uptake of rooftop solar panels in the world.
Mr Morrison added Australia would invest $20bn ($15.4bn; 11.1bn) “to achieve ambitious goals that will bring the cost of clean hydrogen, green steel, energy storage and carbon capture to commercial parity”.
“You can always be sure that the commitments Australia makes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are bankable.”
Australia has seen growing international pressure to step up its efforts to cut emissions and tackle global warming. The country has warmed on average by 1.4 degrees C since national records began in 1910, according to its science and weather agencies. That’s led to an increase in the number of extreme heat events, as well as increased fire danger days.
Ahead of the summit, President Biden’s team urged countries that have been slow to embrace action on climate change to raise their ambition. While many nations heeded the call, big emitters China and India also made no new commitments.
“Scientists tell us that this is the decisive decade – this is the decade we must make decisions that will avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis,” President Biden said at the summit’s opening address.
Referring to America’s new carbon-cutting pledge, President Biden added: “The signs are unmistakable, the science is undeniable, and the cost of inaction keeps mounting.”
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-56854558
Sydney seaplane crash: Exhaust fumes affected pilot, report confirms
The pilot of a seaplane that crashed into an Australian river, killing all on board, had been left confused and disorientated by leaking exhaust fumes, investigators have confirmed.
The Canadian pilot and five members of a British family died in the crash north of Sydney in December 2017.
All were found to have higher than normal levels of carbon monoxide in their blood, a final report has found.
It recommended the mandatory fitting of gas detectors in all such planes.
British businessman Richard Cousins, 58, died alongside his 48-year-old fiancée, magazine editor Emma Bowden, her 11-year-old daughter Heather and his sons, Edward, 23, and William, 25, and pilot Gareth Morgan, 44. Mr Cousins was the chief executive of catering giant Compass.
The family had been on a sightseeing flight in the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver plane when it nose-dived into the Hawkesbury River at Jerusalem Bay, about 50km (30 miles) from the city centre.
The final report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) confirmed the findings of an interim report published in 2020.
It said pre-existing cracks in the exhaust collector ring were believed to have released exhaust gas into the engine bay. Holes left by missing bolts in a firewall then allowed the fumes to enter the cabin.
“As a result, the pilot would have almost certainly experienced effects such as confusion, visual disturbance and disorientation,” the report said.
“Consequently, it was likely that this significantly degraded the pilot’s ability to safely operate the aircraft.”
The ATSB recommended the Civil Aviation Safety Authority consider mandating the fitting of carbon monoxide detectors in piston-engine aircraft that carry passengers.
It previously issued safety advisory notices to owners and operators of such aircraft that they install detectors “with an active warning” to pilots”. Operators and maintainers of planes were also advised to carry out detailed inspections of exhaust systems and firewalls.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55862128
Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021, says top official
Australia is unlikely to fully open its borders in 2021 even if most of its population gets vaccinated this year as planned, says a senior health official.
The comments dampen hopes raised by airlines that travel to and from the country could resume as early as July.
Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy made the prediction after being asked about the coronavirus’ escalation in other nations.
Dr Murphy spearheaded Australia’s early action to close its borders last March.
“I think that we’ll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.
“Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus,” he said, adding that he believed quarantine requirements for travellers would continue “for some time”.
Citizens, permanent residents and those with exemptions are allowed to enter Australia if they complete a 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.
Qantas – Australia’s national carrier – reopened bookings earlier this month, after saying it expected international travel to “begin to restart from July 2021.”
However, it added this depended on the Australian government’s deciding to reopen borders.
Australia’s tight restrictions
The country opened a travel bubble with neighbouring New Zealand late last year, but currently it only operates one-way with inbound flights to Australia.
Australia has also discussed the option of travel bubbles with other low-risk places such as Taiwan, Japan and Singapore.
A vaccination scheme is due to begin in Australia in late February. Local authorities have resisted calls to speed up the process, giving more time for regulatory approvals.
Australia has so far reported 909 deaths and about 22,000 cases, far fewer than many nations. It reported zero locally transmitted infections on Monday.
Experts have attributed much of Australia’s success to its swift border lockdown – which affected travellers from China as early as February – and a hotel quarantine system for people entering the country.
Local outbreaks have been caused by hotel quarantine breaches, including a second wave in Melbourne. The city’s residents endured a stringent four-month lockdown last year to successfully suppress the virus.
Other outbreaks – including one in Sydney which has infected about 200 people – prompted internal border closures between states, and other restrictions around Christmas time.
The state of Victoria said on Monday it would again allow entry to Sydney residents outside of designated “hotspots”, following a decline in cases.
While the measures have been praised, many have also criticised them for separating families across state borders and damaging businesses.
Dr Murphy said overall Australia’s virus response had been “pretty good” but he believed the nation could have introduced face masks earlier and improved its protections in aged care homes.
In recent days, Australia has granted entry to about 1,200 tennis players, staff and officials for the Australian Open. The contingent – which has recorded at least nine infections – is under quarantine.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55699581
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