- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 20, 2001

Zacarias Moussaoui, the first person indicted on charges directly related to the September 11 terrorist attacks on America, will remain in custody pending his scheduled Jan. 2 arraignment on conspiracy charges, four of which could bring the death penalty.

The expected ruling yesterday from U.S. Magistrate Thomas Jones came during a seven-minute hearing at the federal courthouse in Alexandria, where Mr. Moussaoui had been brought earlier in the day from New York.

Judge Jones ordered him to remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service at an undisclosed, secure location. He also explained to Mr. Moussaoui, 33, his constitutional rights including the right to counsel. He currently has court-appointed lawyers.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Spencer had asked the judge to keep Mr. Moussaoui in custody.

Mr. Moussaoui, a French citizen of Moroccan descent, said nothing as the judge summarized a six-count indictment accusing him of plotting with fugitive terrorist Osama bin Laden and members of the al Qaeda terrorist network to murder thousands of people at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

More than 3,000 people died in the attacks.

Mr. Moussaoui, who appeared in court in a brown shirt and khaki pants and a full beard, is charged with conspiring to commit acts of terrorism, including aircraft piracy; to use weapons of mass destruction; and to murder U.S. citizens and destroy U.S. property.

Named as unindicted co-conspirators were bin Laden and al Qaeda members Ayman al-Zawahiri, head of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad; Moustaffa Ahmed al-Hawasawi, accused of providing funds to Mr. Moussaoui from banks in the United Arab Emirates; and Ramzi Binalshibh, also suspected of moving cash to Mr. Moussaoui.

The unindicted co-conspirators included the 19 dead hijackers, who crashed four jetliners in New York, Washington and a field in Pennsylvania.

Mr. Moussaoui was flown aboard a U.S. Marshals Service airplane early yesterday to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. He later was transported amid tight security to Alexandria for the hearing.

"We have taken all appropriate steps and measures to ensure the safety of him and the public," said Dave Turner, a spokesman for the Marshals Service.

Benigno Reyna, who heads the Marshals Service, said providing security for the accused terrorist will be "unlike any other case. We've handled terrorists before. Now it's having an impact on the sanctity of life itself."

President Bush made the decision to bring Mr. Moussaoui to trial in federal court rather than before a military tribunal. The prosecution team, operating under U.S. Attorney Paul McNulty, will include experienced Justice Department lawyers assigned from throughout the country.

Meanwhile, U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema was named yesterday to oversee the Moussaoui trial, and will preside at his Jan. 2 arraignment. A former federal prosecutor and U.S. magistrate in Virginia, she was appointed to the bench in 1993 by President Clinton.

Judge Brinkema, who received her law degree at Cornell University law school in 1976, has presided in several high-profile cases, including a landmark Internet decision involving the Loudoun County Library Board.

In that case, Web site operators and authors whose pages had been blocked by the board's software program asked the federal court in November 1998 to prevent the library from using Internet-blocking software on public-access computers. They said use of the software violated First Amendment rights to freedom of speech. Judge Brinkema agreed and found the library's policy unconstitutional.

In a separate case, several Virginia state employees challenged the constitutionality of a state statute barring state employees from using their computers at work to view pornography. Judge Brinkema agreed, and held the statute unconstitutional. Virginia appealed, and Judge Brinkema was reversed by a unanimous opinion of a three-judge Court of Appeals panel.

Judge Brinkema worked in the criminal division at the Justice Department from 1976 to 1977; the U.S. Attorney's Office in Virginia criminal division from 1977 to 1983; the Justice Department's criminal division from 1983 to 1984; and she served as U.S. magistrate in Virginia from 1985 to 1993.

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