The trial of terror suspect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is now expected to cost New York City in the "low hundreds of millions of dollars" for security, a substantial increase from the original estimate of $75 million, Sen. Charles Schumer said Monday.
At a news conference in Manhattan, Schumer (D-N.Y.) demanded that the Obama administration include a special budget line item to cover the security costs that are expected to hit the city during the trial in lower Manhattan of Mohammed and four others charged in the Sept. 11 conspiracy.
"Whatever it costs, it's a federal responsibility," said Schumer.
Schumer said he called both federal budget director Peter Orszag and Attorney General Eric Holder to ask that the line item be included in the fiscal year 2010 budget being prepared this month.
"I think we have a good shot," Schumer said, adding that Orszag promised to work with the city on the funding issue.
The White House referred questions to the Department of Justice, where a spokesman reiterated Holder's previous comment that the city shouldn't "alone" bear the costs of the case.
But Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) said Schumer's mounting cost estimate further illustrates the folly of holding the trial in New York.
"This shows how insane and irresponsible this was in making the [trial] decision without talking to anybody in the state and city," King said.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is still fine-tuning the cost estimates, but is backing the effort to get the line item in the 2010 federal budget to cover city's costs, said Schumer.
A special line item would prevent the federal government from diverting funds from other counterterrorism programs in the New York metropolitan area to cover the extra expenses of a trial, said Schumer.
"The U.S. marshals will handle security for the courthouse, with the FBI and the NYPD charged with protecting the public and surrounding area," said Schumer.
Twenty-four-hour fixed canine posts and a counterassault team will be deployed near the courthouse, said Schumer.
Mohammed and his co-defendants are to be moved from Guantánamo Bay to the United States this year for a trial at the federal court on Pearl Street, adjacent to police headquarters.
A spokesman for Kelly said that a key element driving the city's costs is overtime pay. The city has about 6,000 fewer officers than it did in 2001. Schumer said that would force the NYPD to extend working hours for police doing security. The city has 34,900 police officers.