[JURIST] The trial of Jose Padilla [JURIST news archive] and two co-defendants on terrorism charges [indictment, PDF] began Monday with jury selection. Defense attorneys have expressed concern that potential jurors may have been tainted by early accusations that Padilla had planned to set off a radioactive "dirty bomb" [NRC factsheet], an allegation not among the charges against Padilla, and that jurors might associate the defendants with the Sept. 11 attacks. US District Judge Marcia Cooke [official profile] has instructed prosecutors to only refer to Sept. 11 in a limited manner [AP report], but barred them from implying that Padilla or his co-defendants were involved.
Last week, Cooke refused to dismiss the terror charges based on Padilla's allegations that he was tortured [JURIST reports]. Padilla, a US citizen, was arrested in 2002 at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and subsequently detained as an "enemy combatant" at a Navy military brig in Charleston, South Carolina. Initially accused of planning to set off a "dirty bomb" in the United States, Padilla went from enemy combatant to criminal defendant when he was finally charged [JURIST report] in November 2005 on unrelated counts of conspiracy to murder US nationals and supporting terrorist activity. He was transferred to civilian custody [JURIST report] in January 2006 and has pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to the charges. In February, Padilla was ruled competent to stand trial [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.