Moussaoui May Not Be 20th Hijacker

The French are doubtful of the U.S. claim that Moussaoui was supposed to be the 20th hijacker on Sept. 11. They think he was going to be used for a different and later mission.

Like the French, we have also noted the significance of the information that Moussaoui was learning to fly a 747 which is used far more in flying international than domestic flights, and was not one of the planes flown on September 11. And of the information that while the other hijackers all knew each other, Moussaoui did not seem to know the other hijackers or hang out with them. The other hijackers spent the latter half of August in the U.S., associating with each other and prepping for the Sept 11 attacks, during which time Moussaoui was in jail.

Re-read the allegations in the Third Superseding Indictment , or any of the previous Indictments and we think you'll agree with us.

Without proof that Moussaoui committed an act in furtherance of the September 11 conspiracy, we have our doubts the death penalty would be applicable for him. He may have joined the conspiracy but his arrest may have precluded him from committing any act in furtherance of it. His lawyers argue that if this is the case, the death penalty does not apply to him.

This is not like the Terry Nichols case where the government presented evidence (contested by the defense, but still evidence) that Nichols helped build the bomb that blew up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma--and many other things to further the common objective. Even though Nichols was not in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, because of these alleged acts by him, the jury was allowed to consider the death penalty for Nichols. Ultimately, the jury rejected the death penalty for him.

Moussaoui's defense lawyers argued in their Response Brief opposing in the Death Penalty, that the Govenrment has no evidence that Moussaoui participated in any way in the Sept. 11 attacks.

In the meantime, the spectacle continues. We say the Government should offer Moussaoui a life sentence in exhchange for guilty pleas to the counts he believes he can admit to, or ask France if they will try him if we send him back there. France doesn't have a death penalty and has objected to our using it against him. Maybe France would also provide Moussaoui with a lawyer he trusts.

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