The Obama administration Wednesday broadly defended as constitutional its predecessor's format for military commissions at Guantanamo but said it would seek to delay next week's sanity hearings in a Sept. 11 case while it revamps its war on terror prosecution strategy.
Assistant Attorney General David Kris wrote in the 30-page filing at the U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia that a claim by military lawyers for accused 9/11 plotter Ramzi bin al Shibh of ``constitutional defects in the Military Commissions Act are without merit.''
Bin al Shibh's Navy lawyers asked the civilian court to halt next week's hearings at Guantanamo in a 71-page broadside against the war court created by the Bush administration -- describing the court as ``not a legitimate judicial proceeding but a political show trial.''
Defense lawyers filed the challenge in a request for an emergency order because an Army colonel has scheduled a session of military commissions next week at the remote U.S. Navy base in Cuba, even as the Obama administration proposes revamping the war court's rules in Congress.
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