Tue, Apr 04, 2006
Now, Jury To Decide If He Deserves It
After giving stunning testimony last
week that he had been part of a plan to fly an
airliner into the White House on 9/11, Zacarias Moussaoui perhaps
shouldn't have been surprised with the verdict presented Monday in
the first part of his death penalty trial -- that he is eligible to
face the death penalty for his alleged role in the attacks.
"You will never get my blood, God curse you all," Moussaoui said
as he was led from the courtroom Monday, according to Agence France
The jury reached its verdict after just over two days of
deliberations -- during which time jurors asked Judge
Leonie Brinkema for clarification of the definition of a "weapon of
mass destruction" as it applied to a commercial
The verdict is a victory for federal prosecutors -- but it
appears Moussaoui's own words had the most impact with the jury,
after he took the stand against advice from his own counsel and
admitted to charges the US government had itself retracted since
the case began more than four years ago.
Federal prosecutors instead focused on testimony Moussaoui gave
when he was arrested in August 2001, saying the confessed al-Qaeda
conspirator had not given investigators information he knew that
may have helped prevent some or all of the four hijackings that
transpired one month later.
"This stage of the penalty phase was probably harder for the
government, but that was before he took the stand and connected all
the dots for the jury," said Richard Dieter, executive director of
the Death Penalty Information Center, to the Associated Press.
The second phase of the trail -- deciding if Moussaoui deserves
the death penalty for his alleged crimes -- is scheduled to begin
Thursday. Federal prosecutors will reportedly focus on evidence of
how brutal Moussaoui's crime was, while the defense will try to
demonstrate mitigating factors in Moussaoui's admission.
Whether the government's miscues during the first part of the
penalty phase trial -- including TSA attorney Carla Martin's
sharing of prosecution memos with federal witnesses --
will impact the second phase remains to be seen.
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