April 13, 2006

Moussaoui criticizes his lawyers

By Deborah Charles

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia (Reuters) - September 11 conspirator
Zacarias Moussaoui on Thursday told a jury deliberating the
death penalty that he had been badly represented by his
court-appointed lawyers.

Moussaoui, 37, who pleaded guilty to six counts of
conspiracy in connection with the September 11 attacks,
testified for the second time in the sentencing trial, even
though his lawyers had not wanted him to take the stand.

Moussaoui has refused to cooperate with those lawyers and
was asked by one of them if he though his attorneys were in a
conspiracy to kill him.

"I believe that you have in the last four years been
dealing with criminal nonassistance of defense counsel," he
said. One of his major complaints was that he was never given a
Muslim attorney.

Moussaoui said in court last month that he was supposed to
fly a fifth plane into the White House as part of the al Qaeda
hijacking plot.

His testimony during the first phase of his trial
contradicted his previous claims that he was not meant to be
part of the September 11 hijacking, but was supposed to be in a
second wave of attacks.

Many observers thought his testimony basically made the
case for the prosecution that he was involved in the deaths of
3,000 people.

Moussaoui said on Thursday his earlier comments had made
little difference.

"Even without my testimony, taking into account the emotion
of the case, there was definitely a chance I would be found
eligible for death," he said.

His lawyers are trying to persuade the jury not to give
Moussaoui a death sentence by showing that he is a mentally
unstable person who had delusions of importance in al Qaeda.