April 18, 2006
Moussaoui said to be schizophrenic
By Deborah Charles
ALEXANDRIA, Virginia (Reuters) - September 11 conspirator
Zacarias Moussaoui is a paranoid schizophrenic who suffers from
delusions that President George W. Bush will set him free in
the next two years, a psychologist testified on Tuesday.
Xavier Amador, an expert in schizophrenia, told a jury
considering the death penalty for Moussaoui that he reached his
diagnosis after conducting dozens of interviews and reading
numerous court pleadings Moussaoui has filed since 2002.
Amador said his diagnosis was confirmed after a combative
one-hour interview with Moussaoui in 2004 and after hearing two
recent rounds of sensational testimony in court during the
Moussaoui, the only person charged in the United States in
connection with the September 11 attacks, has pleaded guilty to
six counts of conspiracy in connection with the hijackings. His
lawyers are trying to convince the 12-person jury not to
sentence him to death but instead to life in prison.
One of their key arguments is that Moussaoui is mentally
Amador, who said Moussaoui had rebuffed many requests for
an interview over the past few years, gave a detailed
description of his one personal encounter with Moussaoui in
Amador said he stood outside a holding cell in the
courthouse while Moussaoui spat water on him at least a dozen
times, before he finally calmed down.
DREAM OF BUSH
He said Moussaoui then exhibited some classic schizophrenic
symptoms, including a rapid change in emotions and an inability
to process information. Moussaoui also told Amador he had a
dream that Bush would pardon him before his term ends and allow
him to leave the country.
Amador said Moussaoui has told him that he was "100 percent
sure" he would be freed by Bush. Amador said he had spoken to
several jail guards who said Moussaoui repeats the dream and
the claim he will be freed nearly every day.
"The grandiosity and arrogance to say 'I know this is going
to happen'... this is a delusional and psychotic belief,"
Moussaoui spoke of the dream during recent testimony. He
also contradicted previous statements that he was not involved
in September 11 by saying he was due to pilot an airplane into
the White House as part of the plot.
Amador said the testimony confirmed Moussaoui's
schizophrenia. It also showed that Moussaoui, like many with
the illness, has periods without symptoms and also tries to
mask the disease.
"Moussaoui is highly motivated to appear normal," said
Amador. Moussaoui has dismissed defense lawyers' efforts to
portray him as mentally ill.
"He is absolutely, deeply committed to presenting himself
as someone who does not have a mental illness like others in
his family," Amador said. Moussaoui's father and two sisters
have been diagnosed with schizophrenia or similar diseases.
The defense is expected to wrap up its case this week and
the jury could begin deliberating by early next week.