Edward MacMahon, protection lawyer for suspect Moussaoui after 9/11, dies at 62 Lalrp


Edward MacMahon Jr., a felony protection lawyer who was thrust into the worldwide highlight as a part of the authorized crew within the 9/11-linked case in opposition to Zacarias Moussaoui, dubbed the “twentieth hijacker,” that grew to become a check of how a civilian court docket might deal with a significant worldwide terrorism prosecution, died March 12 at a hospital in Fairfax County, Va. He was 62.

Mr. MacMahon had most cancers in his head and neck, stated his stepdaughter, Adela Evans Griswold. He lived in The Plains, Va.

From his places of work in a transformed bungalow in Middleburg, Va., Mr. MacMahon grew to become a number one proponent of permitting U.S. civilian courts to deal with delicate terrorism trials associated to the Sept. 11, 2001, assaults. He believed that open trials might showcase American jurisprudence and serve to undercut extremist views.

He additionally supplied blistering criticism of the navy commissions at Guantánamo Bay to attempt “enemy combatants.” Mr. MacMahon argued that the method was arrange too rapidly after 9/11 and put protection groups into uncharted territory with no earlier case regulation or constitutional precedents as a information, creating what he known as “trial by whim.”

“Guantánamo is now the worst model of justice on this planet,” he told a College of Virginia gathering in 2009. “I name it the New Coke of the regulation.”

Mr. MacMahon made dozens of journeys to Guantánamo as a part of the John Adams Project, a bunch fashioned to offer skilled protection legal professionals to help navy attorneys with among the most high-profile detainees. Amongst Mr. MacMahon’s shoppers had been alleged senior al-Qaeda operatives Walid bin Attash and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

“The court-martial system will not be a system that’s set as much as attempt complicated, conspiracy, multi-defendant or actually even dying penalty instances,” he stated. “However the Justice Division … has huge expertise in these sorts of instances. And they’re the individuals who, I imagine, ought to be in cost and prosecuting these instances.”

A cellphone name on Dec. 11, 2001, modified Mr. MacMahon’s profession. On the road was U.S. District Decide Claude M. Hilton, who as soon as had Mr. MacMahon as a clerk within the Eighties.

They’d remained shut, and Hilton was looking for one other court-appointed lawyer to assist defend Moussaoui, a French citizen of Moroccan descent who was indicted in December 2001 on prices of conspiring with al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and the 19 hijackers within the 9/11 assaults.

“[Hilton] known as me at my workplace and instructed me that he had a shopper for me,” recounted Mr. MacMahon. On the time, he had no expertise in terrorism-related instances and was largely recognized for defending employers in discrimination lawsuits. He had watched the primary reviews of the Sept. 11 assaults on a TV at a courthouse in Warrenton, Va.

Mr. MacMahon was quickly holding technique classes with the protection crew (which finally grew to a 5 legal professionals) and was assembly with Moussaoui, who was arrested in August 2001 after he raised suspicion at a Minnesota flight faculty by asking about studying to pilot a Boeing 747.

Prosecutors claimed that Moussaoui was a part of the broader 9/11 plot and was the one main suspect caught on U.S. soil. Even earlier than a trial might start, Moussaoui was trying to show his arraignments into political theater. It was a touch of what was forward.

Moussaoui would fireplace his protection crew and act as his personal counsel, leaving Mr. MacMahon and his colleagues in a standby function for facet points — and in case the persistence of federal Decide Leonie M. Brinkema lastly wore out.

Moussaoui repeatedly claimed he was not a part of the 9/11 plot however vowed allegiance to al-Qaeda. He smeared his sidelined protection crew as secretly making an attempt to undermine him. He known as the decide the equal of a Nazi officer and mocked her as a “grandnanny” in reference to how she wore her grey hair pulled again in a bun.

“We by no means thought he was competent to defend himself,” Mr. MacMahon instructed reporters. “We’ve at all times had considerations about his psychological well being.”

In 2005, after greater than three years of hearings, appeals, delays and challenges, Moussaoui’s responsible pleas had been accepted by the court docket. Earlier pleas had been rejected over doubts about whether or not Moussaoui understood the method. (The 9/11 Fee report stated Moussaoui’s exact function within the assaults remained unclear.)

The following section was whether or not Moussaoui would face dying by deadly injection. Prosecutors sought it. Mr. MacMahon appealed to the jury in U.S. District Court docket in Alexandria. Give him life in jail as a substitute, he requested.

Moussaoui “aspires to martyrdom,” Mr. MacMahon instructed the jury in March 2006. Sentencing him to dying, he stated, would make him a “a smiling face on a recruiting poster for Osama bin Laden.”

It was a closing argument that was posted verbatim on authorized web sites and later studied in regulation faculties. Mr. MacMahon needed to persuade jurors that his shopper’s responsible pleas had been pure deception. “A tall story, a whopper,” he stated.

Moussaoui “was making an attempt to write down a task for himself into historical past,” Mr. MacMahon stated, “when the reality is, he was an al-Qaeda hanger-on and a nuisance to all people.”

After the jury determined in opposition to the dying penalty, Moussaoui sat immobile for a second. Then he yelled: “America, you misplaced … I gained!”

Mr. MacMahon appeared over the crestfallen prosecutors. If destiny was totally different, he would have been sitting of their locations. In 2001, he was among the many nominees to grow to be U.S. Legal professional for Japanese Virginia. He didn’t get it.

If he had, “I might have simply been prosecuting that case,” he stated.

Edward Brian MacMahon Jr. was born July 30, 1960. His mom went into labor prematurely and he was delivered inside a cab someplace between Annandale, Va., and Columbia Hospital for Ladies within the District. His father, an orthopedic surgeon at one other hospital, was not within the taxi to assist.

Mr. MacMahon graduated in 1982 from the College of Virginia and in 1985 from Tulane Legislation College in New Orleans. He clerked for Hilton from 1985 to 1986 after which moved into felony regulation follow. The eye from the Moussaoui case introduced different high-profile shoppers.

Mr. MacMahon defended Ali Al-Timimi, a distinguished Muslim spiritual chief primarily based in Falls Church, Va., who was charged in 2004 with allegedly encouraging his followers to assist the Taliban in Afghanistan and be a part of struggles in opposition to america. In 2005, a federal jury in Virginia convicted Timimi, who was sentenced to life in jail.

His marriage to Karla Evans led to divorce. Along with his stepdaughter Griswold, of Alexandria, Va., survivors embrace his companion, Stephanie Salvatori of The Plains; two kids from his marriage, Edward MacMahon III of Jackson, Wyo., and Alexandra MacMahon of Middleburg, Va.; three brothers; and two sisters.

Outdoors of his skilled life, Mr. MacMahon typically celebrated his Irish heritage. He performed tapes of Gaelic language classes within the automotive. He roamed County Kerry and performed many rounds of golf at Ballybunion. On journeys to Guantánamo, he would typically deliver again the identical reward: T-shirts from the bottom’s solely Irish-style pub, O’Kelly’s.