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Opponents of Downtown Terror Trial Not Letting Up

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Community activist Jan Lee

The grassroots organization fighting to get the 9/11 terror trial moved from Lower Manhattan is not taking any chances. They’re cautiously optimistic that the Justice Department will find another location, but given the conflicting signals from the Administration in the past week, they’re keeping up the pressure.

According to Jan Lee of the Civic Center Residents Coalition, the “rallies and protests will be escalating” until there’s an official announcement from the Justice Department. The group is planning a press conference tomorrow at 12:30pm, in Columbus Park (on Worth Street right across from the federal courthouse where the trial would be held).

They’re also planning to push for changes in a proposed City Council resolution, calling on the Justice Department to hold the trials outside of New York City. “In the alternative,” the resolution states, the federal government should “fully fund the security costs New York will incur in properly and effectively safeguarding the city during the federal terrorism trials.”  Lee said it’s the second part of the resolution that’s angered many people in Chinatown.  In their view, the City Council should send a clear, undiluted message to the feds, without even raising the possibility that the trial might not be moved.

The resolution is being sponsored by Councilmembers Peter Vallone, Vincent Gentile, Michael Nelson and Margaret Chin.  The federal courthouse, 500 Pearl Street, is in Chin’s district but we’re told she signed on as a co-sponsor after the resolution was already drafted. Changes are possible before the Council votes on it – the draft was just introduced at City Hall yesterday.

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