This article was produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
WASHINGTON — An Air Force choose who was just lately permitted for promotion to colonel was chosen on Friday as the most recent officer to preside within the long-running trial of 5 prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, who’re accused of plotting the Sept. 11 assaults.
Lt. Col. Matthew N. McCall, whose biography reveals him working as a legislation clerk in Hawaii on the time of the assaults in 2001, turns into the fourth choose this yr to deal with the case. Among the earlier judges, one selected to retire, one other stuffed in on an administrative foundation and the third lasted simply two weeks earlier than recusing himself, citing conflicts of curiosity.
Colonel McCall is at present serving as a deputy chief circuit choose for the Air Force at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia.
The Senate confirmed him as a colonel on July 30, though his official promotion has but to happen. Once it turns into official, he must serve within the rank for three years to be eligible for full retirement with a colonel’s advantages, circumstances that counsel he may stay on the bench lengthy sufficient to see the advanced conspiracy case to a trial.
He has been deployed not less than as soon as to Iraq, for six months in 2006 and 2007, then centered on navy protection work from 2008 to 2013. He was a protection lawyer in 2009 on the Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field within the Florida panhandle and likewise served as a senior protection counsel in Charleston, South Carolina.
According to his official biography, Colonel McCall has been a navy choose since July 2019. The guidelines for navy commissions trials require a choose on the battle courtroom to have “two years of experience as a military judge” in one of many companies. It was not instantly recognized if the chief choose for navy commissions, Col. Douglas Okay. Watkins, had the authority to waive that requirement when he assigned him to the case.
Colonel McCall fills the opening created earlier this month when a Marine colonel, Stephen F. Keane, recused himself two weeks after his appointment, due to private ties to New Yorkers who had been “directly affected” by the assaults that killed practically 3,000 individuals in New York, Pennsylvania and on the Pentagon.
Before that, Col. W. Shane Cohen of the Air Force abruptly retired from service after setting a 2021 trial begin date that’s now not viable as a result of the coronavirus pandemic has stalled all courtroom progress within the case.
Colonel McCall seems to haven’t any such conflicts. An outdated LinkedIn profile reveals he was a legislation clerk in Hawaii on the time of the Sept. 11 assaults and earlier than that attended legislation college on the University of Hawaii. He obtained hs undergraduate diploma from the University of Georgia, with a focus in Japanese literature and language. He was admitted to the Hawaii Bar on Nov. 1, 2001.