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Jury told Reid did not know of 9/11 plot

April 20, 2006

By Deborah Charles

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia (Reuters) – “Shoebomber” Richard Reid
had no advanced knowledge of the September 11 attacks, a jury
was told on Thursday, casting doubt on claims by Zacarias
Moussaoui that Reid was to have joined him in the assault.

Defense lawyers rested their case at Moussaoui’s sentencing
trial after reading a statement indicating Reid was not
involved in the hijacking plans.

Last month Moussaoui, who faces execution as the only
person charged in the United States for the September 11 plot,
made a surprise claim that Reid was to have joined him and fly
a fifth plane into the White House as part of a coordinated
attack with hijacked airliners.

But Moussaoui’s lawyers have said their client lied about
his role in al Qaeda and September 11, and have argued he is
mentally ill and should not be sentenced to death.

The Reid statement was presented after more family members
of victims of September 11 testified of the need to understand
why the attacks happened and not to seek retribution.

Alan Yamamoto, one of Moussaoui’s court-appointed lawyers,
read the statement, a stipulation agreed to by federal
prosecutors seeking Moussaoui’s execution.

“There is no information available to indicate that Richard
Reid had pre-knowledge of the 9/11 attacks or was instructed by
al Qaeda leadership to conduct an operation in coordination
with Moussaoui,” the statement said.

It said Reid had written a will naming Moussaoui as the
beneficiary of his belongings. FBI analysts concluded the will
showed it was “highly unlikely” Reid was to have been part of
the same martyrdom operation as Moussaoui.

Reid failed in an attempt to blow up an American Airlines
plane from Paris to Miami in December 2001 after passengers and
crew tackled him as he tried to ignite explosives in his shoe.
He was sentenced to life imprisonment in January 2003.

CONTRADICTORY STATEMENTS

Moussaoui testified Reid was to join him on September 11.
He later said he was friends with Reid but had never talked to
him specifically about the plot.

Moussaoui’s claims last month contradicted his previous
statements when he pleaded guilty last year. At that time he
said he was not part of the September 11 plot but was meant to
be in a second wave of attacks.

Prosecutors called a psychiatrist as a rebuttal witness who
disagreed with the defense’s mental health experts, who have
diagnosed Moussaoui with schizophrenia.

Raymond Patterson, a forensic psychiatrist, said Moussaoui
had a personality disorder but no major mental illness.

After closing arguments on Monday, the jury will begin
deliberating.

For the second day in a row, several family members of
people who died on September 11 testified for the defense.

Lawyers were not permitted to ask the witnesses what
sentence they thought Moussaoui should receive, but many of the
family members spoke of the need to overcome vengeance.

Relatives of two people who died on board United Flight 93,
which crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers fought back,
spoke of how they wanted to remember their loved ones.

“I would like to be able to be a voice for reconciliation
in the world,” said Alice Hoglan, whose son Mark Bingham died
on Flight 93.

Paula Shapiro, a social worker whose son Eric died in the
World Trade Center, said she was working with an organization
seeking alternatives to retribution in response to September
11.

Asked how she wanted her son to be remembered, Shapiro
said: “As someone like me … who values not only being in this
country but also the values of this country.”


Source: reuters



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