Government to Appeal Moussaoui Ruling

No surprise here, but the Government has decided to appeal Judge Brinkema's ruling in the Zacarias Moussaoui case.

The government wants an appellate ruling that affirms their refusal to make three al-Qaida prisoners available to Moussaoui. The government defied two district court orders that gave the defendant the right to question the captives because they might help his defense.

To sanction the government for its defiance, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema on Thursday barred the government from seeking the death penalty or presenting any evidence that could link Moussaoui to the Sept. 11 suicide hijackings.

The issues before the 4th Circuit, which has already heard one set of oral arguments in the case, but said it could not rule until Judge Brinkema imposed sanctions, are these:

The government would be expected to renew arguments that the courts have no authority to interfere with decisions made by the executive branch about prisoners captured in a war. The government also has contended and will again that every word uttered by the prisoners could reveal classified information.

Moussaoui's legal team has said Moussaoui has a constitutional right to introduce favorable witnesses and that he cannot receive a fair trial without them.

New oral arguments are expected around November or December.

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