Muhammad May Testify At Malvo Trial

Lawyers for accused sniper defendant John Lee Malvo have subpoenaed convicted sniper John Muhammad to testify for the defense at Malvo's trial. While prosecutors are predicting Muhammad won't testify, Malvo's lawyers say they have received no notice from Muhammad's team that he will try and quash the subpoena or take the Fifth.

Opinions are split on whether Muhammad's testimony will help or hurt Malvo:

On the one hand, a jury might feel pressure to reach the same verdict. On the other, if jurors are reticent to recommend execution for a defendant who was 17 at the time of the sniper attacks, the Muhammad verdict may in a sense let them off the hook.

We think Muhammad's testimony could help Malvo in the penalty phase, if his insanity defense is rejected, particularly if Muhammad were to acknowledge being the mastermind. However, if we were Muhammad's lawyer, we would have to advise him not to testify and to invoke his 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination since the appeals process has not yet begun. Of course, Muhammad has not shown any predilection to following the advice of counsel, so we won't be too surprised if he does testify.

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