Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) offered a stern warning for Eric Holder on Wednesday when addressing the attorney general's confidence that he would get a conviction in civilian court for 9/11 plotter Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: Remember O.J. Simpson.
The Iowa Republican, speaking at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in which Holder was testifying, raised the specter of a sympathetic jury letting KSM off on some sort of judicial technicality. To drive the point home, he recalled what happened roughly 15 years ago with the "Juice".
"I don't know how you can make a statement that failure to convict is not an option, when you have got juries in this country," said Grassley. "I think a lot of Americans thought O.J. Simpson ought to have been convicted for murder rather than be in jail for what he is jail for now... I'm a farmer not a lawyer but I just want to make that observation."
A somewhat bemused Judiciary Committee Chair, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), interrupted Grassley to allow Holder to respond.
"Maybe I should have been more expansive in response to the question," he said. "Certainly we have thought, I have thought, about that possibility and one of the things this administration has consistently said, in fact, Congress has passed legislation, that would not allow for the release into this country of anybody who is deemed dangerous."
"So if, if, there were the possibility that a trial was not successful that would not mean they would be released into our country," Holder added. "But again I want to emphasize that I'm confident we will be successful in the trial of these matters."
Indeed, the case against KSM would seem airtight for the Justice Department or else they would never have brought him to trial in New York. The question is: can DOJ get guilty verdicts for other detainees considering the issues that will undoubtedly arise around the permissibility of testimony and evidence?