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Moussaoui ejected from courtroom in first day of jury selection

[JURIST] Zacarias Moussaoui [JURIST news archive] was escorted from a Virginia courtroom Monday after an argument with US District Judge Leonie Brinkema during the first few minutes of jury selection [JURIST report] in his sentencing trial [case docket]. Moussaoui declared "I am al Qaeda" upon his entrance to the courtroom and informed the judge that his lawyers "do not represent" him. Judge Brinkema cautioned that it was not his time to speak, but Moussaoui demanded to be heard and was subsequently removed without resistance.

Approximately 500 potential jurors were summoned to answer a 49-page questionnaire [PDF text] asking about their opinions regarding Muslims, their religious beliefs, and their feelings about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks [JURIST news archive] on the US. The twelve selected jurors will determine whether Moussaoui, who pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to six charges of conspiracy [indictment] last year, should receive the death penalty or life in prison. Opening statements are expected to begin on March 6. AP has more.

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