Gov. David Paterson appeared to flip-flop yesterday on trying 9/11 suspects in Manhattan, now saying the trial shouldn’t be held in the city.
Paterson told reporters that trying admitted 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other suspects just blocks from where the World Trade Center stood would be “an encumbrance on all New Yorkers,” according to published reports.
“It’s very painful. We’re still having trouble getting over it,” he said.
In an interview Friday with WPIX News, Paterson, who plans to run for re-election next year despite dismal approval ratings, expressed qualified support for President Barack Obama’s decision.
“I do not understand why they decommissioned [the detainees] from serving or being tried on Guantanamo Bay but that’s a decision that the federal government made and our job is to help them,” he told the station.
Yesterday, he again pledged cooperation but backed off his criticism of holding trials rather than military commissions.
“I haven’t had a chance to read the material that would have informed me as to whether or not it would have been better for this to be a military tribunal or whether it should have been a civilian trial,” he said.