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War court judge halts Guantánamo's USS Cole trial

MiamiHerald / The judge in the trial of the man accused of planning the bombing of the USS Cole on Friday shut down the proceedings over his inability to get defense lawyers back to the death-penalty case.

Air Force Col. Vance Spath has for months now disagreed with the Chief Defense Counsel for Military Commissions, Marine Brig. Gen. John Baker, over the general’s decision and authority that released three lawyers of record from the case in October when they asked to resign over an ethical issue. On Nov. 1, after Baker refused to return veteran death-penalty defender Rick Kammen and civilian attorneys Rosa Eliades and Mary Spears to the case — the judge sentenced the general to 21 days of confinement in his quarters for disobeying an order.

RELATED: “USS Cole death-penalty case in limbo after key defense lawyer quits”

Friday morning, on the last day of a weeklong hearing in which Eliades and Spears ignored prosecution subpoenas to appear at court by video feed, Spath assembled defense and prosecution attorneys in the court and offered a 30-minute monologue.

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