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Moussaoui banned from courtroom for jury selection

[JURIST] US District Judge Leonie Brinkema ruled Tuesday that Zacarias Moussaoui [JURIST news archive] will no longer be allowed to be present in the courtroom for jury selection in his sentencing trial [case docket] after Moussaoui walked out of a pretrial hearing. Moussaoui pleaded guilty [JURIST report] last April to conspiring with al Qaeda to use aircraft to target United States buildings and a jury will now decide whether Moussaoui should receive the death penalty or life in prison. At a pretrial hearing to determine whether Moussaoui could remain present during jury selection after being ejected from the courtroom [JURIST report] four times for previous outbursts, Moussaoui defied the judge and delivered a speech and then left the courtroom. Upon his leaving, Brinkema ruled that Moussaoui forfeited his right to be present, and must now watch the jury selection from a closed circuit television in a courthouse cell.

Jury selection [JURIST report] for the trial began on February 6, and individual questioning of the jurors is expected to take place on Wednesday, with opening statements scheduled to begin on March 6. The trial is expected to last one to three months. AP has more.

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