November 23, 2001 - Hijack Trials Unlikely in New York

WASHINGTON - Attorney General John Ashcroft is leaning toward Virginia over New York as the site for terrorism trials stemming from the Sept. 11 attacks, it was reported yesterday.

The Washington Post reported Ashcroft hasn't made a decision but is leaning toward Virginia because it's more conservative and more inclined to approve the death penalty, as well as closer to Justice Department brass in Washington.

A spokeswoman for Ashcroft refused to comment.

Last month, Ashcroft took tighter control of the terrorism investigation and made Washington, not New York, the headquarters for major decisions.

But FBI officials in New York and Washington say the practical effect of that switch has been minimal.

They say agents haven't been reassigned and inmates haven't been moved.

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