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Thread: At Satellite Courthouses, 9/11 Relatives Will Watch Moussaoui's Sentencing

  1. #11
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    Victims' Families Outraged by Government Blunder
    Zacarias Moussaoui Could Escape the Death Penalty

    http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/LegalCenter/story?id=1722513

    March 14, 2006 — Families of victims of Sept. 11, 2001, are horrified at the possibility that al Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui may be spared the death penalty.

    "I lost my son on 9/11," Sally Regenhard said. "He was just the most wonderful person that God ever made. I was looking to this trial to see if we could eradicate one evil person, to remove one force of evil from this beautiful world, and this is why I'm devastated to see that again. We may have lost the only opportunity that was really left for us to have some justice."

    Moussaoui pleaded guilty in April to conspiring with al Qaeda to fly airplanes into U.S. buildings, although he denied having any role in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

    U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkman suspended Moussaoui's sentencing trial on Monday to assess the misconduct of government lawyer Carla Martin, who had provided seven witnesses with information from opening statements.

    "I was really horrified and very outraged to hear that this type of mistake was made," Regenhard said. "This is probably one of the most important trials in the history of this country — how someone could put that at risk. She betrayed the families of the victims who certainly have been waiting nearly five long years to get some kind of scintilla of justice."

    Defense attorney Edward MacMahon has moved to bar the government from pursuing the death penalty, and, if he wins, Moussaoui will automatically be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

    Families of the 9/11 victims say that is not enough.

    "We don't have the answers, and we're looking around every corner," said Barry Zelman whose brother died on 9/11. "My brother's life was very important, so me pursuing the people who killed him is very important. I felt the government dropped the ball."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  2. #12
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    Government Lawyer's Error Upsets Families of 9/11 Victims

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...031401610.html

    By Timothy Dwyer and Jerry Markon
    Washington Post Staff Writers
    Wednesday, March 15, 2006; Page A11

    Yesterday was another day of frustration for families of the victims of Sept. 11, 2001.

    They have waited more than four years through delays and appeals for Zacarias Moussaoui's trial to begin. Satellite courtrooms, established by Congress, have been set up in Boston, Manhattan, Long Island, Newark and Philadelphia so they could watch the government make its case that the only person convicted in the United States in the terrorist attacks should be executed.

    Although the families might disagree about what role Moussaoui played in the attacks and what his sentence should be, many have said that they looked forward to the trial as a vehicle to gather information, heal wounds and, for some, seek some closure.

    Some family members said they were upset that the actions of a Transportation Security Administration lawyer, Carla J. Martin, could potentially derail the government's case. U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema decided yesterday to exclude all aviation security evidence after Martin violated a court order by e-mailing trial transcripts to seven witnesses and coaching them about their upcoming testimony.

    "I am furious," said Rosemary Dillard, whose husband, Eddie, was killed on the plane that was hijacked and crashed into the Pentagon. "Aviation is a big part of this case. Aviation is what killed our loved ones. It was planes. You take aviation out . . . where do they go from here?"

    Where the trial goes after the events of the past two days is a question that many family members were asking yesterday.

    They differ on whether Moussaoui should get a life or death sentence. But many were hoping that the penalty phase of the admitted al-Qaeda member would be an opportunity to learn more about what the U.S. government knew regarding terror threats before Sept. 11, 2001, and what it did with the information.

    "How are we supposed to get any new information now?" said Fiona Havlish, formerly of Buck County, Pa., whose husband was killed at the World Trade Center. "I think what all of us are looking for is the truth, and the truth has not been forthcoming out of Washington. I mean, I can only speak for myself, but I do not feel that the truth has come out no matter how hard we as family members have tried. And this was just one more avenue to find a particle of truth, and that is being thwarted."

    Havlish recently moved to Colorado and has been following the case by watching television news. She said she is morally opposed to the death penalty but wants the trial to go forward to serve as a conduit of information for the families.

    Some family members questioned how Martin could have blatantly disregarded a court order -- or not been aware of it.

    Some wondered whether she was being used as a scapegoat for other government officials who did not want the aviation security evidence to be made public.

    "I don't think she is alone," Dillard said in a telephone interview last night. "I just don't think she could have gotten away with that. Somebody helped her or prompted her. It just makes me wonder whether this is one more thing where no one is going to be held accountable. . . . It's almost too clean. I wonder if there is more to the story than we know."

    D. Hamilton Petersen said he would like to hear Martin's side of the story before he makes any judgments. "We need to give Carla Martin an opportunity to explain herself," he said in a telephone interview. "While it was a gaffe, it was not nefarious, and it was not done by the darkness of night. To err is human, and we need to get the facts, in fairness to Miss Martin." Peterson's father, Donald A. Peterson, and his stepmother, Jean H. Peterson, were killed when United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in western Pennsylvania.

    Some family members saw some irony in the judge's decision because, on the surface, excluding aviation security testimony would appear to favor the defense, but the family members said it would hurt their quest to get as much information made public as possible about the circumstances of their loved ones' deaths.

    "I felt the government wasn't telling us all that it knew, and I do know that feeling is shared in the Massachusetts circle of families within which I travel," said Blake Allison, of Hanover, N.H., whose wife, Anna Allison, was killed on American Airlines Flight 11. "We talked about this the first day of the trial, the hope that the trial would bring some clarity to some of the circumstances leading up to 9/11."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  3. #13
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    Prosecution setback in America's only 9/11 trial

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article...087267,00.html

    By Jenny Booth and agencies
    3/15/2006

    The judge hearing America's only trial of a 9/11 conspirator has banned six witnesses from testifying after discovering that they had been coached.

    The ruling by District Judge Leonie Brinkema wipes out half of the prosecution's case against Zacarias Moussaoui, who has admitted conspiracy in al-Qaeda plots to use passenger jets as terror weapons.

    Moussaoui was arrested a month before the quadruple hijackings that killed 3,000 people, but US prosecutors are arguing for the death penalty for him, saying that he did not reveal information that could have prevented the attacks.

    The witnesses that have been excluded from giving evidence were all due to talk about aviation security, the issue at the heart of the trial. Prosecutors are now wondering whether to appeal.

    Relatives of 9/11 victims, who have been watching the proceedings live on television screens set up in courtrooms around America, said that they were appalled by the development.

    "I felt like my heart had been ripped out," said Rosemary Dillard, whose husband Eddie was killed aboard the plane that crashed into the Pentagon. "I felt like my husband had been killed again. I felt like the Government had let me down again."

    Judge Brinkema's remit is to decide on a sentence for Moussaoui, who was arrested after his instructors at a US flight school became suspicious.

    She spent all day in closed court session yesterday, listening to the six witnesses who, it emerged, had been sent extensive transcripts of evidence previously heard in the trial in order to prepare them for their day in court.

    The transcripts were sent out by Carla Martin, a lawyer for the Transportation Security Administration, with a covering note explaining that they might help them in answering questions. By well-established legal convention, witnesses are banned from hearing previous evidence in court cases in case it affects their own testimony.

    All six said that they had received the e-mails, but did not plan to change their evidence as a result. Ms Martin herself also appeared briefly in court, but did not testify because she could not find a lawyer to represent her. The judge read Ms Martin her rights and warned she might face civil or criminal proceedings for contempt of court.

    "I don't think in the annals of criminal law there has ever been a case with this many significant problems," said Judge Brinkema, who considered abandoning the trial altogether but eventually decided to adjourn it until Monday.

    "I am removing from this case any and all witnesses and evidence dealing with the aviation component. What we have in this case... is that six witnesses, two for the government and four potential defence witnesses, were tainted."

    The missing testimony was expected to deal with how much the Federal Aviation Administration already knew about possible terror threats to airlines prior to 9/11, and what security measures were in place.

    The Government is trying to prove that if Moussaoui had not lied to the FBI when he was arrested, the FAA would have been able to thwart the attacks through increased security measures on aeroplanes.

    Edward MacMahon, Moussaoui's attorney, said: "This is Mr Moussaoui's trial and it's one that needs to be fair from a constitutional standpoint, and it just flat out isn't."

    The judge adjourned the sentencing trial until Monday to give the prosecution time to decide whether to appeal.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  4. #14
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    Government case in Moussaoui trial hurt
    Judge bars prosecution testimony on aviation security measures

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11823125/

    Updated: 7:30 p.m. ET March 14, 2006

    ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The judge in the Zacarias Moussaoui sentencing case decided Tuesday to allow the government to continue to seek the death penalty against the confessed al-Qaida conspirator, but she also barred part of the government's case, which she said had been riddled with “significant problems.”

    Exasperated by mounting government missteps, U.S. District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema ruled that no testimony about aviation security measures would be allowed during the trial into whether Moussaoui is executed or spends life in prison.

    What the government by its own admission has said is half its case has gone away,” NBC's Pete Williams reported Tuesday. “Obviously, this prosecution is in very serious trouble.

    Brinkema postponed the trial until Monday, at the request of the prosecution.

    The government’s case originally had two parts. Prosecutors intended to show active steps the FBI could have taken and defensive measures aviation officials could have taken to thwart the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks if Moussaoui had not lied about his terrorist connections when he was arrested a month earlier.

    “I don’t think in the annals of criminal law there has ever been a case with this many significant problems,” Brinkema said. She ruled the trial could proceed after a daylong hearing into whether coming witnesses had been tainted by improper coaching by a federal lawyer.

    Brinkema added, “More problems arose today that none of us knew about yesterday.”

    Isolation order violated, judge says
    She said that her order to isolate planned witnesses from trial transcripts and news reports had been violated.

    She also said she was troubled that one witness sought by defense lawyers was told by federal attorney Carla J. Martin that he could not speak to them and that Martin falsely told the defense that two others were not willing to speak to them.

    I wouldn’t trust anything Martin had anything to do with at this point,” Brinkema said. The jury was not present for Tuesday’s questioning and ruling.

    Brinkema said the proper remedy was not to eliminate the government’s bid for the death penalty — as the defense asked — but to acknowledge that parts of the case dealing with aviation security matters were now “irremediably contaminated.”

    Government may appeal
    Prosecutor Rob Spencer immediately told the judge the government objected to excluding all such testimony and exhibits and would consider appealing her ruling.

    Earlier Tuesday, four federal aviation officials scheduled to testify in the sentencing trial said that coaching would not affect what they would tell the jury. But they disclosed new problems in the government’s handling of witnesses.

    Among those problems:

    • Government lawyers sent a letter Feb. 14 saying that at least three federal aviation officials sought as defense witnesses refused to talk to defense lawyers. The three said they had never seen the letter and one of them said he would have been willing to talk to the defense.
    • Martin told one official, sought as a defense witness, that he was not to have contact with defense attorneys.
    • Two of the witnesses read and watched news coverage of the week-old trial despite the judge’s order they not follow the case. The government admitted it did not advise witnesses of the judge’s order governing their conduct.
    • Martin not only e-mailed seven witnesses about trial events but also told one person that the defense was trying to portray Moussaoui as “cuckoo.”

    As Robert White, a Transportation Security Administration intelligence liaison officer, was testifying that he had not seen the letter saying he was unwilling to talk to talk defense lawyers, Judge Brinkema interrupted the questioning.

    “Did you see the subpoena issued for you?” she asked.

    “No,” White replied.

    TSA intelligence analyst John Hawley and Matthew Kormann, an officer in the TSA intelligence service, also said they were unaware that a letter had been sent saying they refused to talk to the defense.

    Judge warns government lawyer
    Martin, the Transportation Security Administration attorney who prompted Tuesday’s hearing without the jury present, also was summoned. But her questioning was delayed when she told the judge she had not been able to arrange for her own lawyer. Brinkema had warned her that “you violated a court order and could be held in civil or criminal contempt,” and directed her to return with a lawyer by Wednesday morning.

    Martin had been the government attorney for the seven witnesses and worked with prosecutors on preparing evidence.

    Kormann also testified that in addition to receiving an e-mail from Martin, she told him at a meeting last week about the defense’s cross-examination of an FBI agent.

    Claudio Manno, deputy chief of security for the Federal Aviation Administration on Sept. 11, 2001, and Pat McDonnell, who retired in May 2001 as FAA director of intelligence, both testified they had been reading and watching news accounts of the trial and were not told until last Friday that Brinkema had ordered witnesses not to follow the proceedings.

    Kormann, McDonald, Manno and Manno’s boss, Lynne Osmus, all denied in court that they would alter their testimony in any way as a result of being coached last week by Martin.

    Phone conversation at issue
    Defense lawyer Edward MacMahon also elicited testimony Tuesday that prosecutor David Novak had conducted a joint telephone conversation with two upcoming witnesses, despite long-standing prohibitions against trial witnesses interacting before they testify.

    Novak told Brinkema the phone call, which apparently happened after the judge issued rules on witnesses on Feb. 22, concerned only the logistics of trial exhibits, not the substance of testimony.

    MacMahon had moved to bar the government from pursuing the death penalty.

    Moussaoui pleaded guilty in April to conspiring with al-Qaida to fly airplanes into U.S. buildings; this trial is to determine whether he will be executed or spend life behind bars.

    The only person charged in this country in al-Qaida’s Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Moussaoui has denied having any role in those attacks. He says he was training for a possible future attack.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  5. #15
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    Moussaoui Judge Asked to Reconsider Ban
    Federal Prosecutor Says 'No Point' in Continuing Trial Under Ruling

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...501121_pf.html

    By Jerry Markon, Timothy Dwyer and William Branigin
    Washington Post Staff Writers
    Wednesday, March 15, 2006; 7:27 PM

    Federal prosecutors Wednesday implored a judge to reverse her decision banning key witnesses from the death penalty trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, saying that the "misguided conduct" of a single government attorney should not be allowed to imperil the case.

    Calling the ruling unprecedented and "grossly punitive,'' prosecutors said it devastates their case that Moussaoui should be executed for the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema Tuesday barred seven witnesses and all evidence concerning aviation security from the trial, saying the misconduct of Transportation Security Administration lawyer Carla J. Martin had tainted the evidence beyond repair.

    The barred testimony "is one of the two essential and interconnected components of our case," the prosecutors wrote in a motion submitted to Brinkema. Excluding the witnesses, the prosecutors wrote, make it "impossible for us to present our theory of the case to the jury."

    At a minimum, prosecutors urged Brinkema to let them present a portion of the disputed evidence through a new witness who had no prior contact with Martin. A veteran government attorney, Martin shared testimony and communicated with the seven witnesses in violation of a court order and committed what Brinkema called other "egregious errors.''

    The filing came as more evidence emerged that Brinkema's ruling had threatened the trial of the only person convicted in the United States on charges stemming from Sept. 11.

    On Tuesday, a federal prosecutor told the judge in the case that he saw "no point" in going ahead with the proceedings under a ruling that barred key government witnesses from testifying.

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert A. Spencer made the comment in a conference call among Brinkema and lawyers for the prosecution and defense after Brinkema prohibited testimony and evidence from half a dozen federal aviation witnesses. Brinkema issued the ruling after a day-long hearing convinced her that misconduct by a federal lawyer had so tainted the proceeding that all evidence concerning aviation security must be stricken.

    The decision gutted the case that prosecutors were building in their attempt to have Moussaoui executed for the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

    Moussaoui, 37, a French citizen of Moroccan descent, pleaded guilty last April to six conspiracy counts related to the Sept. 11 attacks. If the death penalty trial does not go forward or if the jury ultimately decides in favor of the defense, Moussaoui would be sentenced to life in prison without parole.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  6. #16
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    Tell me why this is red.

    "At a minimum, prosecutors urged Brinkema to let them present a portion of the disputed evidence through a new witness who had no prior contact with Martin."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  7. #17
    Partridge Guest
    Cos now its in the public domain?

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Partridge
    Cos now its in the public domain?
    Isn't it curious they have a new witness that isn't tainted to talk about a "portion" of the evidence...
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  9. #19
    Partridge Guest
    Ah I don't know, courtroom legalese isn't my speciality by a long shot!

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Partridge
    Ah I don't know, courtroom legalese isn't my speciality by a long shot!
    Is it so hard to believe? A "veteran government attorney" "shared testimony and communicated with the seven witnesses in violation of a court order" and now, those witnesses are "tainted" "beyond repair".

    Except for the one special untainted witness who is only going to share a small piece of whatever puzzle the rest of them were willing to share.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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