Less than two months before the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the chief prosecutor of the alleged 9/11 conspirators announced his surprise retirement Thursday, making a trial in the case appear increasingly unlikely.

The retirement of Army Brig. Gen. Mark Martins after a decade in the job was disclosed in a message to the families of the nearly 3,000 people killed on 9/11. Martins had previously repeatedly delayed his retirement and was scheduled to remain in his position until 2023. No clear reason was given for his early exit.

The message — from Karen Loftus, director of the prosecution team’s Victim Witness Assistance Program, and obtained by NPR — said Martins is stepping down “in the best interests of the ongoing cases.” It cited Martins’ lengthy military career and noted that military court proceedings will restart soon in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, after a pause of more than a year due to the pandemic, so “this is the time to transition to new leadership.”

A graduate of the University of Oxford, Harvard Law School, and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he finished first in his class, Martins is also a former Rhodes Scholar and has spent 42 years in uniform.... Read More: NPR