Pattaya Daily News

30 March 2006 :: 14:03:57 pm 33469

Moussaoui Apparently Intent On Martyrdom

Could have revealed the 9.11 plot on arrest, allowing Federal Authorities to have thwarted the terrorist attack.
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Prosecutors in Alexandria, Virginia, USA, maintained that al-Qaida conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui was responsible for killing Americans on Sept. 11, 2001, by lying to federal agents weeks earlier to keep the plot secret. Prosecutor David Raskin told the jurors they could be sure of Moussaoui’s lethal intent “because he admitted it right here in this courtroom” in bombshell testimony Monday.

Defense attorney Edward MacMahon countered that Moussaoui had told “a plethora of lies to aggrandize himself. MacMahon said FBI headquarters refused to investigate what one “tremendous” field agent discovered about Moussaoui after his Aug. 16, 2001, arrest at a Minnesota flight training school. CIA.”

All that was necessary was for Moussaoui to admit that he was al-Qaida. Had he done so to the FBI could have identified 11 of the 19 hijackers within weeks and the Federal Aviation Administration would have kept them off the planes.

Moussaoui watched the closing arguments impassively but shouted “Victory to Moussaoui! God curse America!” after the judge and jury had left for a brief recess.

If this jury unanimously decides Moussaoui is eligible for the death penalty, it will reconvene to hear more testimony about whether he actually deserves to be executed. That second phase would be a forum for aggravating and mitigating evidence about his role, including the testimony of families of Sept. 11 victims.

An unresolved issue is what would happen if the jury is unable to agree on death-penalty eligibility. Defense attorneys say that should lead to an automatic life sentence; prosecutors argue it should result in a mistrial, which would allow them to retry Moussaoui with another jury.

Moussaoui’s dramatic courtroom testimony on Monday — that he was supposed to hijack a fifth jetliner on Sept. 11 along with would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid and fly it into the White House — was a major focus of the closing arguments.

MacMahon read the jury what Moussaoui said last April when he pleaded guilty to six conspiracy counts and signed a confession. “Point out a single paragraph where it says I’m part of 9/11,” Moussaoui told the court at that time. Moussaoui said then that his plot was different; he was to fly into the White House later if the U.S. did not release radical Egyptian cleric Omar Abdel Rahman, imprisoned for other terrorist crimes.

MacMahon noted that captured Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and other top al-Qaida operatives had said in written testimony that Moussaoui had nothing to do with Sept. 11. He called Moussaoui an “al-Qaida hanger-on and a nuisance” to al-Qaida leaders who argued over who would pay the bill for sending him away.

Shaikh Mohammed said the attack date wasn’t set until after Moussaoui was arrested, MacMahon reported. It’s terrorist training 101,” Raskin added. “Al-Qaida trains its people to lie: Don’t give up the plot.”

Raskin tried to deal with a continuing defense argument that the Fifth Amendment protected Moussaoui from having to incriminate himself by confessing upon arrest.

MacMahon countered that “the government cannot prove a hypothetical — what would have happened if Moussaoui had not lied — and certainly not beyond a reasonable doubt.”

The arguments followed a disclosure Tuesday that Moussaoui offered last month to testify for prosecutors against himself at his death penalty trial, leaving it in no doubt that he was seeking martyrdom through execution.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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