Prosecutors object to moving Somali piracy trial

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Gunmen travel alongside a cruise ship off the coast of Somalia. (AP photo)

NORFOLK, Va. — Federal prosecutors are objecting to defense attorneys’ efforts to move a Somali piracy trial outside of Norfolk.

Attorneys for five Somalis charged with piracy in a 2010 attack on the USS Ashland want the trial moved.

They contend they can’t get a fair trial in Norfolk, which is the Ashland’s home port and home to the world’s largest aval base.

Defense attorneys contend the region’s heavy military presence and publicity about the case has prejudiced potential jurors.

In a filing Friday, prosecutors said simply having a connection to the military doesn’t disqualify jurors. They also wrote that publicity about a trial doesn’t justify moving it.

They wrote that it is possible to find an impartial jury among 1.2 million residents in the Norfolk district, citing other completed piracy cases.

Credit: The Associated Press.