Friday, April 22, 2005

Moussaoui Pleads Guilty in 9/11 Conspiracy

Zacarias Moussaoui pleaded guilty to conspiring with the other 9/11 hijackers to crash commercial airliner into buildings. According to Moussaoui's statement, his intended target was the White House. Moussaoui also fingered Osama bin Laden as the mastermind behind the plot as well as the one that gave the oreders to proceed. Read the full Pete Yost AP story.

Moussaoui, a 36-year-old French citizen, pleaded guilty to six felonies, four of which carry the death penalty. They accuse him of conspiring with the 19 hijackers and al-Qaida leaders in a broad plot to kill Americans using commercial airliners as weapons. The conspiracy included the Sept. 11 attacks.

In a "statement of facts" compiled by prosecutors and signed Friday by Moussouai, he acknowledged knowing about the plot to fly planes into prominent U.S. buildings, then lying to federal agents after his arrest in August 2001 to avoid exposing the plot.

But in his court appearance, Moussaoui hinted at a possible death penalty defense. He tried to distance himself from the specific events on Sept. 11, saying that nothing in the statement he signed declared he was "specifically guilty of 9-11."
Since 4 of the 6 charges that Moussaoui pled gulity to are capital offenses, the death penalty should be handed down. Moussaoui has said he will fight the death penalty and I am sure scores of left wing organizations will try and assist him in this fight. Then there are the French, who will be sure to be having a hissy fit, should Moussaoui be sentenced to death. No doubt the French will try to intercede in a world forum of one sort or another.
The judge asked Moussaoui to review the lengthy statement of facts in which prosecutors laid out their case against him. He appeared to carefully review it as hushed court spectators watched intently. Brinkema asked if he understood it.

"Yes, I have read more than 10 times this statement," he said. "I pondered each paragraph and find it factual."

In the statement, Moussaoui said bin Laden had personally selected him to take part in an attack on the White House with a commercial airliner.

Bin Laden told Moussaoui, "Sahrawi, remember your dream," according to the statement. Abu Khaled al Sahrawi was one of the names Moussaoui used.

Brinkema asked defense lawyer Alan Yamamoto, the only attorney Moussaoui has been willing to talk to in recent weeks, if he was satisfied his client understood what he was doing by pleading guilty.

"When I have spoken to him, we have disagreed," Yamamoto said. "He is facing the possibility of death or life in prison. He has told me that he understands that."

Prosecutor Robert Spencer told the court he believed Moussaoui should be ordered to pay restitution to the Sept. 11 victims.

When the judge noted that part of the penalties could include a $250,000 fine, Moussaoui replied, "I wonder where I will get the money."

Before he formally entered the plea, he was asked if he understood the statement could be used against him to prove he was guilty. "Absolutely, I do understand that," he said.

A few seconds later, he added, "Where do I get the pen?"

Outside the courthouse, family members of Sept. 11 victims expressed satisfaction with the outcome and their gratitude to the government for pursuing the case.

Dominic J. Puopolo Jr. of Miami Beach, Fla., whose mother from Dover, Mass., died on American Airlines Flight 11 that crashed into the World Trade Center, said he had "a tremendous feeling justice is being served." He said, "I promised my mother shortly after she was murdered I'd somehow have justice."
Perhaps this will give some closure to the families of the 9/11 victims. If there was ever a justification for implementeation of the death penalty, this is it. - Sailor

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