9/11 survivors to watch sentencing of conspirator on closed-circuit TV
Proceedings in Alexandria, Va., can be viewed in Manhattan, Newark and West Islip, L.I.


Thursday, February 02, 2006

WASHINGTON -- While survivors of World Trade Center victims can watch the upcoming sentencing trial of convicted 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui on closed-circuit television, it's not clear how many will do so.

The office of the U.S. Attorney in Alexandria informed victims' relatives by letter of the availability of the broadcasts and asked them to apply for credentials if they want access to the service.

The proceedings in Alexandria, Va., which begin March 6, can be viewed at three metropolitan-area federal court complexes, in Manhattan, Newark and West Islip, L.I.

"I plan to go as often as I can," said Bill Doyle of Annadale, whose son was lost at Ground Zero.

"I think a lot of family members will go because so far no one has been held accountable" for the 2001 attacks, said former Eltingville resident Joan Molinaro, whose firefighter son was killed.

But because she now lives in northeastern Pennsylvania, the distance will keep her from being one of them, she said.

Other relatives indicated they had little appetite for reliving 9/11.

"It's been over four years and they keep dredging it up and dredging it up," said James Alario of Lighthouse Hill, whose wife died in the Trade Center

"I don't really give a hoot what happens to this moron," said Alario of Moussaoui.

But another relative who didn't want to be identified said he couldn't bring himself to watch the trial because he is too angry that Moussaoui is still alive.

Last year, Moussaoui pleaded guilty to complicity in the 9/11 plot but said he was not directly involved. Instead, he said, his role was to take part in a later wave of suicide hijackings.

The 37-year-old Algerian, who was born in France, was arrested two weeks before Sept. 11, 2001, at a Minnesota flight school after instructors became alarmed by his erratic behavior.

His sentencing trial has been divided into two phases. In the first, prosecutors will try to convince a jury that the FBI could have prevented the 9/11 attacks if Moussaoui had told them what he knew about the conspiracy after his arrest.

If the jury finds in favor of the prosecutors, the court will consider the government's request that Moussaoui get the death penalty.

In the second phase, prosecutors plan to call survivors to the stand to present victim-impact statements.

Congress authorized the closed-circuit broadcasts three years ago, after a court ruling that commercial cable networks could not televise the proceedings. The closed-circuit coverage also will be available at the federal court complexes in Philadelphia and Boston.

Terence J. Kivlan is Washington correspondent for the Advance. He may be reached at terence.kivlan@newhouse.com.