4th Circuit Affirms Zacarias Moussaoui Conviction

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the conviction and life sentence of Zacarias Moussaoui. Moussaoui pleaded guilty to six counts of conspiracy related to the 9/11 attacks. During the penalty phase, the jury declined to impose the death penalty, and he was sentenced to life in prison, which he is serving at Supermax in Florence.

According to the statement of facts contained in his guilty plea, and his testimony, he was supposed to be part of a wave of a second set of attacks, the target of which was the White House. He was not, as many first thought, supposed to be the 20th hijacker on 9/11. He always denied that he knew any specifics of the 9/11 attacks.

In addition to affirming the conviction and sentence, the court rejected his request to have the case remanded back to the trial court due to the Government’s disclosure of classified information during the pendency of the appeal

The opinion is here. All of Moussaoui coverage, going back to 2002, is accessible here.[More..]

Moussaoui claimed he was part of a different conspiracy than the one charged in the Indictment, which he says pertained to 9/11. The court disagrees:

As an initial premise, we reject Moussaoui’s claim that the Indictment charged him only with conspiring to personally participate in the 9/11 attacks as a 9/11 hijacker. The Indictment charged Moussaoui with six conspiracy counts arising out of al Qaeda’s plan to hijack airplanes and fly them into designated targets, and the Indictment identified 110 overt acts taken by the conspirators in furtherance of that plan.

These overt acts included the actions taken by Moussaoui and the co-conspirators in preparation for such attacks and the 9/11 attacks themselves, which resulted in the deaths of nearly 3,000 people.20 Based upon the deaths resulting from the 9/11 attacks, the Indictment also included special findings required under the FDPA to authorize the death penalty. Thus, the charged conspiracies were not agreements to carry out the 9/11 attacks specifically; the 9/11 attacks were overt acts taken after Moussaoui’s arrest by his co-conspirators in furtherance of the charged conspiracies. They also served as the basis for the Government’s decision to seek the death penalty.

...Because Moussaoui had denied specific knowledge of the 9/11 hijackers, their activities, or the details of the planes operation in the United States, the Statement of Facts contained admissions placing him in the general conspiracies to hijack planes and use them to strike prominent buildings. It did not, however, involve admissions that Moussaoui knew the specifics of the operation, such as the precise date, the range of targets, and the identities of all the hijackers. The latter, however, were not necessary for his conviction, nor was his guilty plea contingent upon them—a fact that had been earlier recognized by the district court and this court in published opinions...

...The Statement of Facts adopted by Moussaoui and his representations during the plea colloquy were fully consistent with the charged conspiracies and provided an adequate factual basis for acceptance of the plea. There was no requirement that Moussaoui personally admit to participating in the 9/11 attacks, or that he was intended to be a part of those attacks.

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    Or is it just me?

    For the last hour or so, the top two or three threads are the only ones that show up on my screen when I go to TL's mainpage, and the colors and graphics are all messed up too.

    And none of the right column is viewable there either - no advertising, no latest posts, no archives, etc...

    thanks, it 's fine in firefox but not in IE (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 04:36:41 PM EST
    I'll see if I can figure out why.

    Just a suggestion but maybe deleting (none / 0) (#4)
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    the embedded image in the Morning Shootout... post?

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    it was the Las Vegas shooter's video that I had double code in. Is it working for you now?

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    Perfectly. Thank you. (none / 0) (#6)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 04:43:47 PM EST
    Zacarias Moussaoui: Patsy #2 (none / 0) (#7)
    by Yes2Truth on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 05:49:32 PM EST

    Osama bin Laden may have been GW Bush's favorite
    pet scapegoat, but he was untouchable (a little help from his cia friends).

    Comes now Zacarias Moussaoui, and says:
    "I only did what my handlers told me to do.  Everything is a blur.  Was I tortured and drugged?  I never agreed to be a Patsy for Boosh."