April 6, 2006
Giuliani testifies at Moussaoui trial
By Deborah Charles
ALEXANDRIA, Virginia (Reuters) - Former New York City Mayor
Rudolph Giuliani described watching desperate people jump from
the burning World Trade Center in emotional testimony on
Thursday to a jury that will determine if September 11
conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui should die.
Jurors and spectators, including relatives of the September
11 victims, also watched video clips of two planes hitting the
trade center and then about five minutes of footage of people
jumping from the burning, smoking buildings. Many spectators
gasped and dabbed at tears while watching the video.
"I saw several people, I can't remember how many, jumping,"
Giuliani said. "There were two people right near each other. It
appeared to me they were holding hands.
"Of the many memories, that's one that comes to me every
Shortly after, jurors were shown several views of the Twin
Towers collapsing in Manhattan on September 11.
Moussaoui alternated between smiles and nods as he watched
the video clips of the twin towers collapsing in Manhattan.
After the jury and judge were gone for the morning break he
sang out "Burn in the USA!" -- an apparent takeout on the Bruce
Last year, Moussaoui, an admitted al Qaeda member and the
only person charged in the United States with the September 11
attacks, pleaded guilty to six counts of conspiracy. Three of
the charges carry the death penalty.
On Monday, the jury found Moussaoui was eligible for the
death penalty. The jurors agreed with the government argument
that Moussaoui's lies when he was arrested three weeks before
the attacks led to the deaths of nearly 3,000 people.
In this final phase of the sentencing trial, jurors will
decide if Moussaoui should be sentenced to death or life in
Dozens of witnesses, including family members of people who
died in the hijackings and people who were injured in the
attacks, will testify in this phase about how they were
affected by the hijackings.
Giuliani, who won high praise for his handling of the
September 11 crisis, was the first major witness to do so. He
described where he was that day, what he saw and what he felt.
"By the time the second plane hit, we knew for sure it was
a terrorist attack," he said, sitting next to scale models of
the World Trade Center.
"It was horrid," he said, describing the site of the Twin
Towers after they collapsed. "The worst thing I've ever seen in
my whole life ... parts of human bodies ... hands or legs."
Giuliani said it looked like a "nuclear cloud" was going
through Manhattan after the towers collapsed.
Calling September 11, 2001, "the darkest day in American
history," federal prosecutor Robert Spencer urged jurors to
sentence Moussaoui to death for his part in the disaster.
"Now it's time for you to hear the voices," he said. "You
cannot understand the magnitude of the horror that day, unless
you hear it from the families."
But Gerald Zerkin, one of Moussaoui's court-appointed
lawyers, urged jurors to keep an open mind and listen to
evidence that the defendant had a mental illness that caused
him to be involved in the conspiracy.
"The government's evidence will present an extraordinary
challenge for you. You must somehow maintain equilibrium," he
said. "You must nevertheless open yourselves to the possibility
of a sentence other than death."