- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 27, 2002

Moussaoui asks judge to bar death penalty

Zacarias Moussaoui yesterday said the government cannot seek the death penalty in his pending trial for terrorism because he has not been charged with any criminal acts that led to the deaths of others.

In papers filed in the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Moussaoui's defense team asked Judge Leonie Brinkema to bar the government from seeking the death penalty, saying nothing their client has been charged with "directly caused any deaths."

Moussaoui, 33, a French Algerian, is accused of conspiring with the al Qaeda terrorist network to carry out the September 11 attacks on America. He told the court on Monday he wanted to fire his defense team and represent himself, saying they were part of a conspiracy to kill him.

Police: Engineer blinded by sun before crash

PLACENTIA, Calif. The engineer of a freight train that plowed head-on into a passenger train was blinded by the sun and didn't see a yellow light warning him to slow down before the deadly crash, police said yesterday.

According to a report by Officer Kelly Kenehan, the engineer "told me he could not see the signal. [Engineer Darrell] Wells said that the sun was very bright."

Officer Kenehan was the first officer to interview Mr. Wells after Tuesday's crash between the Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight train and a crowded Metrolink passenger train. Two persons were killed, and more than 150 were injured.

Lagging tax revenue could swell deficit

Lagging federal tax revenue could cause this year's budget deficit to swell beyond $100 billion, far higher than Congress had anticipated, according to preliminary estimates.

Projections by public and private budget analysts indicate that individual tax receipts are running about $40 billion below earlier estimates.

If the estimates hold up after all the checks from the April 15 tax-filing deadline have been counted, the deficit for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 could be $30 billion to $70 billion higher than expected.

The Congressional Budget Office had estimated a fiscal 2002 budget deficit of $46 billion. The White House estimate puts the deficit at more than $100 billion.

Simpson files suit to void verdict

Los Angeles O.J. Simpson filed a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the $33.5 million civil verdict against him for the stabbing deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ron Goldman. Simpson's suit says the 1997 trial was marked by "several judicial irregularities," including the suppression of Mr. Goldman's purported criminal record and phone records that would have proved Simpson was away from Mrs. Brown's house at the time of the killings.

Simpson filed the suit Thursday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, a year after California's Supreme Court denied his request for a retrial of the 1997 jury award.

Helgerson confirmed as CIA general inspector

The Senate yesterday confirmed the nomination of John Helgerson to the post of CIA inspector general, a position that conducts investigations of possible internal wrongdoing at the spy agency.

The Senate confirmed Mr. Helgerson, who fills the vacancy left by former CIA Inspector General Britt Snider, without dissent. At his confirmation hearing earlier this month, Mr. Helgerson said that as the spy agency's third inspector general he would focus on the CIA's procurement and acquisition process for information technology.

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