Monday, May 08, 2006

Moussaoui asks to withdraw guilty plea

And so the circus tries to continue for at least one more round.

Just five days after a jury imposed a life sentence on him for concealing his knowledge of the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Moussaoui told Federal Judge Leonie M. Brinkema that he claimed to be a member of the plot "even though I knew that was a complete fabrication."

Mr. Moussaoui told Judge Brinkema, in what appeared to be a futile motion to withdraw his plea, that he had not trusted the American legal system because he was not assigned a Muslim lawyer, and that his days in solitary confinement had provoked him to fight that system.

The jurors' decision to spare his life made him look at his situation anew, Mr. Moussaoui said. He said he would welcome a trial where he could show he was not part of the 9/11 plot "because I now see that it is possible that I can receive a fair trial even with Americans as jurors."

He won't get it, unless he can provide convincing evidence that he in fact had nothing to do with the 9/11 plot. And we should be careful not to give him much more of a platform before the public eye. He had his trial, and lost; the appeals process should proceed as quietly as possible.

But we should not lose this opportunity to note to the world that, having experienced the U.S. justice system firsthand, convicted terrorist Zacharias Moussaoui now believes he can get a fair trial. Not only is it good PR; it will further undermine any claim he might have to "martyr" status.

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