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Chinatown Residents Discuss Terror Trial Concerns

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Monday night, Chinatown residents from two apartment complexes a short distance away from the Federal Courthouse where accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four co-conspirators will be tried, met with elected officials about their concerns. (watch video clips with highlights from the meeting at the end of this post) Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Councilmember Alan Gerson and Councilmember-elect Margaret Chin made brief remarks at a meeting organized by the Civic Center Residents Coalition.

The people who live in Chatham Towers and Chatham Green, just up the block from the courthouse (located at 500 Pearl), said they have serious concerns, not only about security, but also about their community being in inaccessible for many months. In many respects, Chinatown businesses have never fully recovered from 9/11. The continued closure of a large municipal parking garage and of Park Row are still major issues in the neighborhood.

Gerson told the residents the NYPD declined an invitation to attend the meeting because planning has not yet begun for the trial. Although U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced a month ago his decision to hold the trials in New York, there haven’t even been indictments yet (a grand jury just began meeting). The elected officials pledged to work with residents to address their concerns. At least one leader of the neighborhood organization, Jeanie Chin, said they’re weighing the possibility of a lawsuit and are strategizing a campaign to reverse the decision.

Here are some of the video highlights from Monday’s meeting:

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