In a new test of the reach of the Guantanamo war court, a military judge has ordered three civilian lawyers who quit the USS Cole defense team to come to court at the remote U.S. Navy base in Cuba next week.
Attorneys Rick Kammen, Rosa Eliades and Mary Spears quit their jobs Oct. 11 as lawyers for the man accused of orchestrating al-Qaida's warship attack. They obtained permission to do so from the chief defense counsel, Marine Brig. Gen. John Baker, who found "good cause" for their resignations. They cited a cascading ethical conflict over a lack of confidence in the confidentiality of their privileged conversations with Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri at Guantanamo, but the details are classified.
But the case judge, Air Force Col. Vance Spath, wrote in an Oct. 16 order that, while Baker "purported to find good cause" to approve their leaving the case, Spath, as judge, has not. "Accordingly, Mr. Kammen, Ms. Eliades, and Ms. Spears remain counsel of record in this case, and are ordered to appear at the next scheduled hearing," Spath wrote.