- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 15, 2002

Accused terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui, the lone person charged in the September 11 attacks on America, yesterday asked a federal appeals court to overturn an order requiring a mental health examination to see if he is fit to represent himself at trial.
The 33-year-old French Algerian, who wants to fire his court-appointed defense attorneys, was ordered last month to undergo the examination by U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema in Alexandria.
Moussaoui told the court he would not cooperate with his defense team, headed by federal public defender Frank Dunham Jr., saying they had conspired with prosecutors to ensure his death. He asked during an April 22 hearing for permission to represent himself at his pending trial.
Judge Brinkema refused to fire the defense attorneys, but she ordered a mental examination to determine whether Moussaoui was capable of defending himself. She said Moussaoui did not need to cooperate with his attorneys but needed competent counsel present in the courtroom.
The judge had postponed a decision on whether to allow Moussaoui to represent himself pending the results of a mental health exam.
In a motion filed with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Moussaoui asked that the order for a mental examination be overturned. He also asked that the appointment of his defense team be overturned.
The appeals court is expected to schedule a hearing on the motions, although no date has been set.
Moussaoui was indicted Dec. 11 by a federal grand jury in Alexandria on six counts of plotting with Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist network to murder thousands of people at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Four of the six counts carry the death penalty.
U.S. Attorney Paul J. McNulty, whose office is prosecuting the case, said last month the government would seek the death penalty for Moussaoui. In court papers, Mr. McNulty said Moussaoui deserved to die for conspiracy in the September 11 attack that saw "the largest loss of life resulting from a criminal act in the history of the United States."
Mr. McNulty told the court that prosecutors would prove Moussaoui took part in an international plot that resulted in crimes committed "in an especially heinous, cruel and depraved manner in that they involved torture and serious physical abuse to the victims."
Named in the indictment 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 Moussaoui from banks in the United Arab Emirates; and Ramzi Binalshibh, also suspected of moving cash to Moussaoui.
The unindicted co-conspirators include the 19 dead hijackers, who crashed four jetliners into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a western Pennsylvania field.


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