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Senator Durbin Shares 9/11 Children Letter to Biden Supporting Pleas on Senate Floor

Read the full press release here.

Durbin continued, “To state the obvious: we are failing the victims of 9/11 and their families by continuing this charade. These military commissions, which was supposed to be the court of law, have not and [are] unlikely to deliver justice.”

Durbin also highlighted the stories of two others who lost loved ones in the September 11th attacks. One was Colleen Kelly, who testified at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in December 2021, which Durbin chaired. Kelly lost her younger brother Bill when the first plane crashed into the North Tower. Durbin also spoke about Leila Murphy, a young law student who lost her father, who like Ted, is calling for a plea deal.

“Leila, Colleen, and Ted Olson are not alone in calling on the Biden Administration to finally deliver a shred of justice to the victims of 9/11 and their loved ones through guilty pleas. Just last week, Leila and several other children and grandchildren of victims who died on 9/11 wrote to President Biden. In their letter, they implored him to salvage, ‘whatever justice can still be had for the parents and grandparents we lost. [Do] not to let the process drag on any longer,’” said Durbin.

The signers of that letter included the three daughters of New York firefighter Douglas Miller. He was among the more than 340 FDNY firefighters who were killed when the towers collapsed. In their letter, Mr. Miller’s daughters expressed how hopeful they were last year when the 9/11 prosecution team began negotiations to obtain guilty pleas from the defendants.

Durbin continued, “But their hopes were crushed when the prosecution team recently indicated they are [now planning to return] to pretrial litigation.. This was devastating news for children like Mr. Miller’s daughters… Pretrial purgatory will not deliver justice to these families and the loved ones they lost. The only way to do that is by securing guilty pleas in the 9/11 case. And let’s be honest: This will not be the full measure of justice that these families deserve. Sadly, that is no longer possible. Because these families were robbed of true justice when the Administration at the time decided to torture and abuse detainees in our nation’s custody, and throw them into an untested legal black hole rather than trusting America’s time-tested system of justice.”

Durbin concluded his speech by calling on the Biden Administration to ensure that the interagency process to review the terms of the plea deals is completed without further delay.

“If you want to stand for liberty and the rule of law, be honest with the American people. Guantanamo Bay is a blight on our national conscience. And it has been for a long period of time. It is time for us to accept the reality—it is not only a waste of taxpayer dollars, but it is an injustice that must end,”Durbin concluded.

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