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9/11: A Year After / WHO WE ARE NOW

Frank W. Dunham Jr.

September 11, 2002

As the federal public defender for the eastern district of Virginia, Frank W. Dunham Jr., 59, represents accused terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui and U.S.-born Taliban fighter Yaser Esam Hamdi. With Moussaoui, Dunham serves as "standby counsel" for a client who refuses to speak to him.

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"What I anticipated was public outrage at anybody who would take on a case defending a guy like this, but the public has been far more tolerant than I ever expected.

They understand that although this guy hates them and everything they represent, he is also entitled to legal representation and he's entitled to his day in court.

Mr. Moussaoui won't even talk to me now. I'm enemy No. 1 as far as he's concerned. Before he fired us as his defense team, I saw him 55 times in jail. We'd have long visits.

Since 9/11, I've always worn an American flag lapel pin, and I think he associated me with the government.

Right now, I'm Hamdi's counsel too, but I've never met the man. [Hamdi is being held incommunicado as an enemy combatant in a Navy brig in Norfolk, Va.] I may be the first lawyer in American history to have that problem."

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As told to Eric Lichtblau

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