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Wed, Apr 20, 2005

Will Moussaoui Cop A Plea?

9/11 Suspect Reportedly Ready To Confess

The suspect says he'll do it. The judge says she'll accept it. The only question now seems to be, will Zacarious Moussaoui go through with his plan to plead guilty. If he does, it will mean the only man in America to be indicted for the 9/11 terrorist attacks cops a plea as early as Friday.

Moussaoui, a flight school student, was arrested about a month before terrorists flew commercial aircraft into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field near Shanksville, PA.

"We do expect him to admit to some connection with the September 11 attacks," one government official told Reuters.

The French citizen of Moroccan descent faces six allegations:

  • Conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism
  • Conspiracy to commit aircraft piracy
  • Conspiracy to destroy aircraft
  • Conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction
  • Conspiracy to to murder US employees
  • Conspiracy to destroy property

Four of those charges carry the death penalty.

But Moussaoui, 36, might not escape the death penalty by pleading guilty. Prosecutors appear unwilling to negotiate on that option.

Will he really do it? Moussaoui, who's acted as his own lawyer since he was imprisoned, has been of questionable competence -- even according to his own lawyers. In July, 2002, he said he'd plead guilty to the four most serious charges against him, only to change his mind during the hearing. At that court proceeding, he did admit to being part of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terror network.

A spokesman for Moussaoui's mother, Aicha el-Wafi, said she thinks her son is incompetent to enter a plea.

"She doesn't feel he is competent to enter a guilty plea," said el-Wafi's lawyer, Randall Hamud. "The arduous conditions of his confinement have taken a toll. She feels no one should do anything... until they can get a proper psychological test."

Moussaoui's lawyers -- legal advisors, actually, since he represents himself -- oppose a guilty plea.

But federal Judge Leonie Brinkema Wednesday ruled Moussaoui is indeed of sound enough mind to enter a plea. She scheduled a court hearing to accept his admission of guilt for Friday at 1530 in Alexandria, VA. Federal prosecutors warn, however, given Moussaoui's court antics three years ago, anything could happen.

FMI: www.usdoj.com


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