Judge refuses to let Sept. 11 suspect fire lead attorney

FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) — A military judge says a Guantanamo Bay detainee charged in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack cannot fire his lead defense attorney.

Army Col. James Pohl made the ruling Thursday during a pretrial hearing in Cuba for Walid Bin Atash, one of five men accused of planning and aiding the 2001 attack.

Pohl said Bin Atash had not shown good cause for severing his relationship with civilian attorney Cheryl Bormann. The judge questioned Bin Atash about his reasons during a closed session Wednesday.

Replacing Bormannn would have significantly delayed the trial. Her successor would have had to gain top-secret security clearance before getting up to speed on the case.

The Associated Press covered a closed-circuit video feed of the hearing at Fort Meade, near Baltimore.