By: Larry Margasak, Associated Press Writer
(AP) Zacarias Moussaoui, accused of conspiring with the Sept. 11 hijackers to commit terrorism, says there’s no reason to silence him any longer. For now, the judge in his case agrees.
U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema on Wednesday publicly released a Moussaoui pleading, after concluding the defendant had avoided threats, racial slurs, and calls to action.
Moussaoui, who is representing himself, indicated he had received the message. “This motion must be publish,” he wrote. “You have no false excuse to gag me any longer.”
The French citizen, 34, complained in the motion that he still has no access to the Internet site of court-appointed defense attorneys, who are assisting him at the judge’s direction.
At the government’s request, Brinkema did cross out several sentences of the handwritten motion with a black marker.
The motion, filed with the court Tuesday and released Wednesday, still included language that would never be tolerated from an attorney. Moussaoui, whose trial is scheduled for Jan. 6, said defense lawyer Frank Dunham Jr. was playing a “dirty trick” by refusing to pass on information and failing to investigate matters that could help his case.
He said Dunham was hoping that Brinkema would revoke his right to defend himself and allow the standby defense team to take over the case. Prosecutors said they would seek the death penalty if Moussaoui is convicted of terrorism conspiracy.
The judge granted Moussaoui access to the lawyers’ Web site while barring him from visiting other Internet sites. Dunham and another defense lawyer, Edward MacMahon, said access has been delayed by logistical problems, caused by the defendant’s isolation within the Alexandria Detention Center.
Moussaoui’s motions have been filled with insults directed at the defense lawyers, curses aimed at the judge, and calls for the elimination of Jews in Palestine. Prosecutors and the judge have expressed concern that Moussaoui, an admitted al-Qaida loyalist, was sending coded messages to his supporters.
As in past motions, Moussaoui said Dunham, a public defender, was leading an effort to have him executed. “Dunham still does not understand that suicide is forbidden in Islam and to give him my case is ‘certain’ death,” Moussaoui wrote.
“I have more chance to live if I load bullet in 38 mm and play Russian rullet (roulette). After all the gun can jam, but Dunham will not miss the opportunity to send me to heaven.”
Brinkema has not ruled on a motion by several news organizations requesting that Moussaoui’s motions be public — as they had been before the Aug. 29 order.
Lawyers for the organizations, which include The Associated Press, proposed that the government be allowed 10 days after a motion is filed to review it and withhold information deemed sensitive.