Debate over the future of the military’s Guantanamo Bay detention center, and the candidates’ past actions related to that base in Cuba, “continued to dominate the race” 8/31.
Ex-Air Force Col. Morris Davis, who “was the chief prosecutor there” until ‘07, “bashed” ex-Sen. Dan Coats (R) over a TV ad Coats is airing in which he says he would oppose moving detainees to U.S. soil. His complaint: The lobbying firm for which Coats worked for five years also employed two lawyers who represented detainees on a pro bono basis — a fact Davis says caused the Coats ad to strike him as “the ultimate hypocrisy.”
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On a call arranged by Rep. Brad Ellsworth’s (D-08) camp, Davis pointed to the firm’s ‘09 annual report, which specifically mentions its pro bono work on behalf of six Yemen natives held in Guantanamo and its efforts to have those detainees tried in the U.S. According to Coats spokesperson Pete Seat, Coats was not aware the firm was representing those detainees.
Meanwhile, the Coats camp “continued its criticism” of Ellsworth, saying he brought on a surrogate to talk about Coats’ lobbying work because he is afraid to address the issue of whether he supports moving those Guantanamo detainees into the U.S.
Ellsworth spokesperson Liz Farrar said Ellsworth has not rejected the possibility of transferring some Guantanamo detainees into the U.S. for trial. She said he is open to considering ways to deal with detainees on a case-by-case basis, as the military says is appropriate (Bradner, Evansville Courier & Press, 9/1).
Coats said Ellsworth’s vote in support of closing Guantanamo was “poor judgment on his part, and another in a long list of votes and decisions that pretty much rubber-stamped whatever the Obama-Pelosi agenda called for.”
Coats said Ellsworth’s campaign has misrepresented his connection to the attys who worked on behalf of a half-dozen detainees at Guantanamo. Coats: “This was a service done by two lawyers out of 800 and some lawyers in offices around the country. … I didn’t even know these people were lawyers from King & Spalding until the other day” (Allen, South Bend Tribune, 9/1).
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