Memphis native prepares for worldwide attention - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Anna Marie Hartman

Memphis native prepares for worldwide attention

U.S. Army Major Jon Jackson U.S. Army Major Jon Jackson

Later this year, the suspected terrorists in the September 11th attacks will go to court, and a Memphis attorney will defend one of them.

U.S. Army Major Jon Jackson was born and raised in Memphis.  A lawyer in the Army JAG Corps since 1996, Jackson landed an unprecedented assignment last month.

"I have been told by the Chief Defense Counsel, Colonel David, that I will be representing one of the six men who have been charged with the attacks of 9/11," he said in an interview Thursday.

Jackson has already been to Cuba in preparation for his upcoming case, visiting Guantanamo Bay last month to get security clearance.  His accommodations will be modest while he tries the case, and each time he meets with his client, he will cross the bay in a heavily armored speed boat. 

Jackson said doesn't know which of the 9/11 suspects he will represent, but he acknowledged that defending anyone connected to the largest terrorist attack in U.S. history will drum up mixed emotions.

"It's an emotional case, but I have an obligation as a military officer in the United States Army to do my duty to zealously represent whoever I'm assigned to represent within the balance of the law," he said.

In the process, Jackson will have to gain the trust of a suspected terrorist who has a great distrust for the American military and its lawyers.

"One of the interrogation techniques used on some of these individuals was interrogators coming in pretending to be lawyers," he said.

Jackson's job may not be popular, but the right to a fair trial represents the fiber of our nation, he said. And, as in any case, defendants are innocent until proven guilty.  

During the next several months, Jackson will travel between Guantanamo Bay and his office in Arlington, Virginia.

It may be the end of this summer before any of the 9/11 detainees are scheduled for an arraignment.

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