Moussaui Asks to Plead Guilty in 9/11 Trial

Breaking....[link via Raw Story ]...Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person charged in the 9/11 attacks in the U.S., has informed the Government that he will plead guilty, over the objections of his lawyers, if the Court finds him competent. He is willing to let a jury determine if he should get life or death.

In recent letters to the government and to Brinkema, Moussaoui said he is willing to accept the possibility of a death sentence, which sources said could resolve a key point of contention: Prosecutors are unlikely to drop their insistence on capital punishment. If Brinkema accepts a plea, she would then probably set a death penalty trial, at which jurors would decide if Moussaoui should be executed.

Previously, the Judge had banned the death penalty as a sanction for the Government not producing some of our hidden detainees for interviews by the defense - like Ramzi Binalshibh and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed - because they might provide favorable testimony for him. She also ruled the Government could not present any 9/11 evidence at all at trial for its refusal. Moussaoui had argued:

Terrorism defendant Zacarias Moussaoui needs access to three al-Qaida prisoners to prove he was not part of the Sept. 11 conspiracy and to spare his life, his lawyers said Friday. With the government seeking the death penalty, the three witnesses could demonstrate that Moussaoui was, at most, a bit player in the conspiracy, the defense team told an appellate court in a written filing.

But on appeal, the 4th Circuit split the baby and the trial was back on. Then the 4th Circuit ruled Moussaoui could be executed. Just last month, the Supreme Court dealt Mousaoui a setback upholding the 4th Circuit ruling depriving him of the ability to interview detainees.

Moussaoui tried to plead guilty in 2002, but it fell through. He wanted to plead to guilty to being a member of an al Qaeda conspiracy, but not to having a role in the 9/11 attacks.

Will he have any better luck this time? While the judge initially found him competent, that ruling has been called into question and his competency remains an issue. Why would a competent person plead to a death offense unless he wanted to die, and Moussaoui has fought the death penalty tooth and nail so far?

Not suprisingly, former prosecutors cited in the article thinks he's competent. One says he's not crazy. Crazy and competent are two different issues. Competency refers to the ability to understand the nature of the charges and the consequences of any plea disposition -- and the ability to assist in one's own defense. Crazy, or insane, refers to the ability to appreciate the wrongfulness of one's actions - i.e, to tell right from wrong.

In 2002, Moussaoui fired his lawyers and tried to represent himself. That fell apart in short order.

My prediction: Even if found competent, Moussaoui will never get through a change of plea hearing. He will never admit to the essential elements of the offenses, or a sufficient factual basis.

This will be just a rerun of 2002. Maybe Sy Hersh was right, Moussaoui should have been a witness instead of a defendant. Early on, the French also doubted Moussaoui's connection to 9/11.

Here's a transcript of the 2002 hearing (html) where Moussaoui tried, but failed, to plead guilty. Here's some of Moussaoui's family history, according to his mother.

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    Re: Moussaui Asks to Plead Guilty in 9/11 Trial (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 11:09:31 PM EST
    The question must be asked, how much torture was used on him? before he plead guilty?

    Re: Moussaui Asks to Plead Guilty in 9/11 Trial (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 11:54:20 PM EST
    Given the track record of our brave terror warriors, what is the chance that this will be, in any way, germain?

    Re: Moussaui Asks to Plead Guilty in 9/11 Trial (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 03:09:40 AM EST
    Fred: Ask his lawyers.

    Re: Moussaui Asks to Plead Guilty in 9/11 Trial (none / 0) (#4)
    by Jim Strain on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 07:59:12 AM EST
    Even if a giant hand reached down from heaven, its finger pointing at Moussaoui, and a booming voice announced to the world, "This man is a certified nut, and while far from innocent, is not guilty of the charges filed against him," Moussaoui's chances would still be at the snowball-in-hell level. I would support jailing the dude for a long time, simply on charges of being an annoying jerk. But the government's dogged pursuit of the death penalty based on the disappearing ectoplasm that they've disclosed as evidence, makes it clear that the competence of both parties is in grave doubt. . . . jim strain in san diego.

    Re: Moussaui Asks to Plead Guilty in 9/11 Trial (none / 0) (#5)
    by Dadler on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 03:16:38 PM EST
    it wouldn't surprise me in the judge does not allow this plea. then again, it wouldn't surprise me if she does. what is clear is the massive amount wasted on this show-trial. trophy hunting in the war on underkill.

    Re: Moussaui Asks to Plead Guilty in 9/11 Trial (none / 0) (#6)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 08:18:24 PM EST
    Jim Strain is right., now no one will know the real facts of what happened. 9/11/01 3,000 dead Bush stopped investigate of Osama Bin Laden and all inquiries into terrorist connections of Osama family early in 2001, who made the decision to stop john O'Neill investigating Al-Qeada accounts of billions of dollares? the question are endless, but we only get the party line from both side of our non government, who is Moussaui really working for and did he know? its the old Moscow rules here and now. If you don't know what that means find out.

    Re: Moussaui Asks to Plead Guilty in 9/11 Trial (none / 0) (#7)
    by Johnny on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 09:01:25 PM EST
    I just thought of something... Hundreds of billions of dollars, thousands upon thousands dead... Concentration camps all over the place... And we have only one dude arrested for 9/11? And he is gonna plead guilty? That really chaffs Ashcrofts a$$, I bet. He would have wanted the jury to make that announcement...

    Re: Moussaui Asks to Plead Guilty in 9/11 Trial (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 09:07:15 PM EST
    Johnny - It is hard to arrest people who kill themselves while committing the crime. In the meantime we have killed and captured a large number of terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Re: Moussaui Asks to Plead Guilty in 9/11 Trial (none / 0) (#9)
    by Johnny on Wed Apr 20, 2005 at 12:26:22 AM EST
    Jim, if all that were directly involved in this were the 19, mainly Saudi, men on the airplanes and this joker I would agree with your statement completely. As it is, i agree with it quite a bit (:-O) BUT... An operation like this requires massive cooperation between many people, and while a large number of them may be unwilling or unknowing, a large number of them HAD to be findable... And not the pi$$ed off 14 year old types hiding in caves in Pakistan and Afghanistan-businessmen, students, etc. In plain view. Perhaps they had more help at the flight schools than we admit? Perhaps student visas are too easy to find/fake/buy whatever... The point is, for an operation like this, I firmly believe it took more than 20 people to pull it off. And we have one person standing trial. barely.