There will be no media center at the Federal Courthouse after all.
The proposal, which caused so much controversy last year because of the terrorist trials under way, has been abandoned for a variety of reasons. The special-use permit would have needed to be renewed later this month if the center was to become a reality. It called for several trailers that would have been used by the news media, a platform for holding news conferences, and would have been open 24 hours a day, seven days a week during a trial. It was designed and proposed in response to the need to accommodate national and international media that would have been in Alexandria to cover the terrorist trials.
“At this point, those trials are uncertain,” said Barbara Gordon, the city’s public information officer. “John Walker Lindh has already been sentenced, and [Zacharais] Moussaoui may not even be tried here. Also, the developer is moving ahead with plans to build the hotel on that site.”
Federal court personnel are working with the developer to make accommodations for media at the hotel. “I know they are talking about conference and other media facilities there,” Gordon said.
Walker-Lindh negotiated a plea agreement with the U.S. Justice Department, and Moussaoui’s case may be tried before a military tribunal because of a dispute over whether he has the right to question another Al Qaeda member who is currently in U. S. custody.