Moussaoui pleads guilty (sort of)
Zacarias Moussaoui, the only man to be charged with a crime related to 9-11 in the U.S., was finally allowed to enter a plea in federal court April 22, and, in his inimitably garbled fashion, pleaded guilty to all six charges of terrorist conspiracy (for which he will likely face the death penalty) while insisting he had no involvement in 9-11. Instead, he said he was recruited for a separate series of attacks aimed at freeing Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman, the notorious "Blind Sheikh" imprisoned at a top-security facility in Minnesota. (CNN, April 23)
This despite the fact that his court filings during the period that he served as his own lawyer (having dismissed his court-appointed attorney as a "megalopig") often began simply with the identifier "20th Hijacker," and he titled his pleading to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals "20th Hijacker Location: Wicked Tyrant Court." In another filing, he refered to former Attorney General John Ashcroft, a Republican, as the "Democratic Jerk." (Baltimore Sun, April 23)
With this flair for confused flamboyance, the Zacarias Moussaoui fan sites which are now sure to spring up should make for amusing reading. (The Blind Sheikh has already got a few: sample 1, sample 2, sample 3)
But the Sheikh's re-appearance in the news in this context is not goood news for his lawyer, Lynne Stewart, who was just herself convicted on (rather spurious) terrorism conspiracy charges and now awaits sentencing.
Meanwhile, if the court imposes the death penalty for Moussaoui (which is practically guaranteed), it will certianly spark a showdown with France. Moussaoui is a French national, and France has vowed to fight any attempt to execute him. (See WW4 REPORT #27)