“Trial by ambush. I believe that is what has happened in this case,” Eugene Fidell, one of Yee’s civilian defense lawyers, told reporters during an impromptu press conference at this Army base about 100 miles southwest of Atlanta.
Fidell said the military’s inability and refusal to make some evidence and witnesses available to the defense and its attempts to hold some legal discussions in private could violate Yee’s constitutional right to a fair and speedy trial.
Col. Dan Trimble, the investigating officer presiding over Yee’s hearing, which will decide if he faces a court martial, adjourned proceedings until 4 p.m. EST to give authorities a chance to meet defense lawyers’ requests.
Prosecutors said they were trying to expedite the disclosure of documents, some of which may be considered classified.
The delay came one day after prosecutors began laying out their case against Yee, who was held in a Navy brig for more than two months following his arrest on Sept. 10 at a naval air station in Jacksonville, Florida.
On Monday a Department of Homeland Security special agent told the court that “suspicious” notes with information about detainees and interrogators at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo were found in Yee’s backpack in the Jacksonville air station.
Media reports in September quoted defense officials as suggesting Yee may have been part of a major espionage plot at Guantanamo, where he had contact with at least some of the 660 men that the United States is holding as suspected terrorists.
None of the existing charges against the New Jersey-born Yee, which include allegations that he cheated on his wife, stored pornography on a government-issued laptop computer and lied to military personnel, are related to spying.