Moussaoui Judge Warns Prosecutors

I have never understood how the Government could get the death penalty for Moussaoui on the theory that he was responsible for the 9/11 deaths not through his participation in the plot but through his failure to tell authorities what he knew so it could be stopped.

It seems the Judge today had the same concern.

"I must warn the government it is treading on delicate legal ground here," U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema said at the conclusion of the day's testimony, after the jury had left the courtroom. "I don't know of any case where a failure to act is sufficient for the death penalty as a matter of law."

Here's how the argument would play out...or not.

Both sides agree Moussaoui lied to the FBI, but they differ on what Moussaoui was legally obliged to do given the Fifth Amendment's guarantee against self-incrimination. Prosecutors argue that once Moussaoui agreed to talk to federal agents, he was required to tell the truth - to confess his ties to al-Qaida and his plans to fly an airplane into the White House. The defense argues Moussaoui was not required to confess.

The issue is crucial because, to obtain the death penalty, prosecutors must prove that federal agents would have prevented at least one death on Sept. 11 if Moussaoui had not lied.

As I wrote here,

If that's the yardstick, why is Moussaoui facing death when Michael Fortier got 12 years for not alerting authorities to the Oklahoma City bombing. Is it that Fortier cooperated against McVeigh and Nichols and Moussaoui is too crazy to provide a coherent statement against anyone? Or is it that 3,000 dead is worth death while 165 dead is only worth 12 years?

This trial has nothing to do with accountability for those responsible for 9/11. Moussaoui wasn't one of them.

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    Re: Moussaoui Judge Warns Prosecutors (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Mar 09, 2006 at 11:14:08 PM EST
    You're so right that
    This trial has nothing to do with accountability for those responsible for 9/11. Moussaoui wasn't one of them.
    But you have to realize that he has been setup as the fall man. This is the only person who is/has been prosecuted for the crimes on 9/11. I personally don't think that's an accident.

    Re: Moussaoui Judge Warns Prosecutors (none / 0) (#2)
    by Steven Sanderson on Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 02:04:13 AM EST
    There's one exception to the Bush administration's usual obsession with secrecy and that exception is the performance of human sacrifices to appease the malignant body of the Bush Cult. The execution of Moussaoui would be just another act of barbarism in a long string of Bushco assaults on civilized society.

    Re: Moussaoui Judge Warns Prosecutors (none / 0) (#3)
    by HK on Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 02:59:47 AM EST
    Definitely a scapegoat situation here, but the government is expecting this judge to be very creative with the law in seeking the death penalty. It is worth pointing out that this situation is surprisingly common in that in many murder cases with more than one defendant, one is set up to take the fall while the others get reduced sentences for their co-operation. Okay, it is a different circumstance, but the idea behind it is the same. Namely, if someone is made to pay with his life, then it doesn't matter about the ones who got away. It's politics as usual.

    Re: Moussaoui Judge Warns Prosecutors (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 06:15:25 AM EST
    They must be operating on rummy's known knowns/known unknowns/unknowns/unknown knowns school of criminal justice/logic/military strategy/natural disaster contingency planning and relief/weddings bar mitzvahs and civil unions.