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Giuliani criticizes NYC trial decision

From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani once again criticized the decision by the Justice Department to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who himself claims to be the 9/11 mastermind, in New York City.

On the day Attorney General Eric Holder testified and defended his decision on Capitol Hill, Giuliani, on a conference call organized by the Republican National Committee called the move "unnecessary," because military tribunals are available as an alternative, it would be too much of a burden on New York City, the process would be "long" and "drawn out" and a trial would inflict pain on families of those affected by 9/11.

As we pointed out earlier, however, in 1994 and even as late as 2006, Giuliani spoke quite differently on his stance on where to try these kinds of suspects.

He said, for example in 1994, per the New York Times, that the verdict in that case "demonstrates that New Yorkers won't meet violence with violence, but with a far greater weapon -- the law." And "It should show that our legal system is the most mature legal system in the history of the world, that it works well, that that is the place to seek vindication if you feel your rights have been violated."

First Read asked Giuliani if he does not believe that the U.S. courts have more credibility than military tribunals in the eyes of the world, and what's changed in his view.

He defended his earlier statements by saying military tribunals had not been an option for trying these suspects then. But now that option exists, and even the Obama administration will be going the military route for some alleged terrorists, he said.

He didn't answer the question of whether or not the U.S. courts have more credibility than tribunals.

Military tribunals have been around since the Revolutionary War, of course, but the Bush administration announced its intention to create tribunals to try non-U.S. citizens suspected of terrorist activity after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Their legitimacy has been called into question around the world, but Republicans would argue that the U.S. was in a unique situation after 9/11 and that acts of terrorism should be treated as acts of war.

"That alternative was not available then," Giuliani said. "And if that was not available now, then of course I'd be in favor."

The United Kingdom and Spain held trials in their countries in relation to the 7/7 London bombings and the Madrid train bombings.

He also said that 9/11 was "the most outrageous of all attacks," "could be clearly viewed as a foreign invasion of our city," "plotted overseas," "carried out by foreigners," "tantamount to a foreign attack on the U.S, "It was clearly an act of war."

Giuliani added that Holder is incorrect when Holder said there was no difference in Mohammed's ability to speak out at a tribunal would than at a New York trial.

Because New York is the "media capitol of the world … things get exaggerated 10 times more," Giuliani said, adding later that Holder is "fooling himself" if he thinks otherwise.

"I think it's the wrong decision," he said. There is "no real reason to come to this conclusion."