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Moussaoui defense to argue mental illness at sentencing trial

[JURIST] Defense attorneys for admitted terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui [JURIST news archive] on Tuesday notified the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia of their plans to call expert witnesses to support their argument that Moussaoui should be spared from the death penalty because he suffers from severe mental illness. In the notice [PDF text], defense attorneys said they planned to call two expert witnesses, one a social worker who will discuss Moussaoui's troubled childhood, another a psychiatrist who will testify that Moussaoui suffers from "a severe thought disorder, most likely schizophrenia." It was widely expected that defense lawyers would introduce evidence of mental illness, but this is the most specific claim and the first mention of schizophrenia. himself has asserted that he is sane, and plans to testify on his own behalf during the sentencing trial [JURIST report]. Moussaoui pleaded guilty [JURIST report] last year to conspiracy charges [indictment] in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks, and a jury will now decide whether he should receive the death penalty. The sentencing trial is scheduled to begin with jury selection on February 6 [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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