Col. Lanny Acosta, Guantnamo Judge, Faces Ethics Challenge
The issue has cast a cloud over the coming proceedings in the U.S.S. Cole bombing case, which are scheduled to last three weeks starting Monday.
An appeals panel on Friday limited the authority of the judge presiding in hearings in the U.S.S. Cole bombing case while it considers an ethics challenge, the latest obstacle in the slow-moving path to trial in the longest-running war crimes prosecution at Guantnamo Bay.
At issue is whether Col. Lanny J. Acosta Jr., the judge, had a duty to step down earlier this year when he lined up a civilian job at the Defense Department to follow his retirement from the Army on Sept. 30.
Lawyers for Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri portray Colonel Acostas pursuit of his next job as a clerk at the Air Force judiciary as a conflict of interest because he was simultaneously seeking a job from the Pentagon while presiding in a case being brought by the Pentagon.
Mr. Nashiri, a Saudi prisoner, is accused of orchestrating the Oct. 12, 2000, bombing of the destroyer Cole off Yemen that killed 17 U.S. sailors. He has been in U.S. custody since 2002 in a case that has been hampered by challenges, including over the judges 2021 decision, since overturned, to accept evidence derived from torture in certain circumstances. No trial date has been set.