- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Admitted al Qaeda terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui was barred yesterday from the federal courtroom where jurors are being selected for the sentencing phase of the death-penalty case after he again disrupted the proceedings.

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema ordered Moussaoui removed from the courtroom during a hearing to determine “whether you plan to remain quiet … or whether you plan to make speeches,” telling the 37-year-old French citizen of Moroccan descent “you are the biggest enemy of yourself.”

Moussaoui, proclaiming his allegiance to al Qaeda, was removed four times from the courtroom last week during the opening round of jury selection to determine whether the only person charged in the U.S. in the September 11 attacks should be put to death.

Moussaoui refused to be quiet during yesterday’s hearing, instead reading from a handwritten speech and berating the judge for what he described as violating his civil rights. He accused Judge Brinkema of “trying to organize my death for four years.”

Moussaoui again denounced his court-appointed attorneys and charged that President Bush had begun “a new campaign of revenge against terrorists.” He also told the judge he was not French, saying, “I stand here as a Muslim only.”

“God curse you and America,” Moussaoui said as he was led from the courtroom. He will watch jury selection from his cell at the courthouse.

He pleaded guilty in April to conspiring with the 19 terrorists who slammed four hijacked jetliners into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field, killing nearly 3,000 people. In his plea, he said he conspired with members of al Qaeda to commit acts of terrorism and aircraft piracy and to murder U.S. citizens.

But he denied direct involvement in the September 11 attacks, saying he had been training for a separate mission to fly a 747 aircraft into the White House. Jury selection is expected to take a month.

Moussaoui was detained by FBI agents on immigration charges in Minneapolis on Aug. 16, 2001. At the time of his arrest, he had in his possession knives, binoculars, a hand-held aviation radio, Boeing 747 flight manuals and computer programs on flight simulation, pilot procedures and aerial pesticide application.

Trial in the sentencing question is scheduled to begin March 6.

Today, groups of a dozen prospective jurors will return to the courthouse to be questioned individually by the judge. The sessions will continue for two to three weeks, until 85 prospective jurors have been qualified.

The government charged in a six-count indictment that Moussaoui conspired with other members and associates of al Qaeda to “unlawfully, willfully and knowingly” kill and maim persons within the United States, and to create a “substantial risk of serious bodily injury to other persons” by destroying and damaging structures, transportation sites and others targets.

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