I'm sure someone is going to be outraged by this — especially considering that I got a huge break in my career from cameras being allowed in the courtroom — but I am against Zacarias Moussaoui's trial being televised.
I swear, it will become another O.J. trial. It has to. There is no other choice. Therefore, as Nancy Reagan used to say: Just Say No.
I'm the guy who thought a secret military tribunal was just right for Moussaoui, and I still do. It's George W. Bush and John Ashcroft who relented, and gave the 20th hijacker the kind of trial that should be reserved for people like you and me — where presumption of innocence is an actual fact, not just an abstraction for appearance's sake.
Who are we kidding about Moussoui? Has there been a shred of evidence that counters the obvious conclusion to be gleaned from his behavior, history and contacts?
This guy is as good a candidate for a public hanging as we can get. If he were to have a trial with all of the perks of the American justice system — as though he were truly innocent until proven guilty — and if he were to have a camera in the courtroom, Jay Leno could warm up the dancing Itos again because this would be one loony toon of a trial, complete with trapeze acts and bozo witnesses wearing red noses and floppy shoes.
We do not need Moussaoui's trial to be zapped around the world on television, showing how reasonable doubt can be created for someone so thoroughly guilty. We don't need another 'if it don't fit, you must acquit' cloud of smoke.
When John Hinkley shot Ronald Reagan in front of a video camera, the Chinese ambassador thought it odd that Hinkely would get a trial. We have innocent and guilty too, he said … but we also have the obviously guilty.
That's what we have here. Keep the TV camera off, and let's get the damn thing over with. And don't come whining to me about American justice being devalued. This was an armed combatant making war on us. Shoot him.
That's My Word.
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