Tensions mounted Friday morning between the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps and attorneys scheduled to represent former President George W. Bush, with the latter requesting a continuance to gather exculpatory evidence.
Counselors of the law firm Williams & Conolly arrived at Guantanamo Bay Friday, five days ahead of Bush’s tribunal date, arguing that the military had given them inadequate time to prepare a defense. Senior Counsel David D. Aufhauser asserted Bush’s innocence but demanded an additional 90 days to prepare a rebuttal to, what he called, the military’s specious allegations. Moreover, they said JAG’s seizure of documents and electronic devices from Bush’s Crawford ranch violated his 4th Amendment rights, and, therefore, ought to be inadmissible in courts of law.
Lt. Dawn Cusumano, a junior member of JAG’s National Security Litigation team, noted that Bush’s arrest took place on 11 November, giving his legal team nearly a month to mount a defense, and asked why, if Bush were innocent, they needed three more months.
“Because your office has fabricated flagrantly bogus charges on our client,” Aufhauser said.
“Mr. Aufhauser, if you’re prepared to accuse our offices of manufacturing evidence to wrongfully prosecute your client, well, those are serious allegations, ones you should be prepared to back up. Rear Adm. Crandall is patient, but he doesn’t tolerate foolery,” Lt. Cusumano said.
Aufhauser wanted to know why JAG hadn’t shared its discovery file with the defense team.
“This is not a civilian court; it’s a military commission. We’re not obligated to, and what we have shared, we’ve done for professional courtesy,” Lt. Cusumano replied.
Aufhauser then asked to speak with Rear Adm. Crandall, saying he felt personally slighted because JAG had sent “only a lieutenant” to evaluate his request.
Lt. Cusumano excused herself from the conference room, telling Aufhauser she’d make a phone call, only to return a minute later with Rear Adm. Crandall’s response.
“This is outrageous,” Aufhauser barked, “we’ll see him in court.”
Bush’s tribunal will commence at GITMO on Wednesday morning.