Hawaii Hires Al Qaeda’s Best Lawyer to Lead Suit Against Trump

Neal Katyal volunteered to represent Bin Laden's bodyguard…and won

Neal Katyal

Neal Katyal / Getty Images

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The lead attorney for the latest legal challenge to President Trump's executive order implementing a 90-day suspension on visa issuance to U.S.-bound travelers from six countries where terrorism remains a heightened concern, also volunteered to serve as legal counsel for Osama bin Laden's bodyguard, Samir Hamdan on a pro-bono basis.

On Tuesday, Neal Katyal, a former acting solicitor general of the United States during the Obama administration, filed suit on behalf of the state of Hawaii against the Trump administration, seeking to block the president's latest executive order.

Katyal, whose name was once floated as a possible Obama Supreme Court nominee, but whose consideration was ultimately withdrawn due to perceived trouble that his nomination would encounter in the Senate, argues in Hawaii's filing that this new executive order suffers from the same legal problems of the original order.

Neal Katyal sued the U.S. government in 2006 on behalf of Osama Bin Laden's bodyguard, Samir Hamdan in the landmark legal case Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. In his arguments however, Katyal made several questionable arguments, including equating the criminal justice rights of legal U.S. green card holders to captured foreign al Qaeda terrorists under the military commission system at the time.

In addition to his success as an attorney for terrorists suing the United States, Katyal is also an accomplished actor, having appeared as a lawyer in one episode of the Netflix series House of Cards.