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Moussaoui testimony expected as defense gets underway in sentencing trial

[JURIST] The sentencing trial of Zacarias Moussaoui [JURIST news archive] on Monday enters what analysts expect to be a critical week, with testimony from Moussaoui and other key witnesses. Prosecutors concluded their case [JURIST report] for giving Moussaoui the death penalty last Thursday, during which the defense team consistently highlighted failures by the CIA and FBI to investigate Moussaoui after his arrest in August 2001. The defense is expected to introduce statements from the alleged mastermind of the September 11 terrorist attacks [JURIST news archive], Khalid Sheikh Mohammed [BBC profile], who is being held in the United States at an undisclosed location, and former CIA director George Tenet [official profile]. It is unclear yet whether Tenet will appear in person or whether the defense team will use statements from previous testimony to the Senate [text] and the 9/11 commission [text].

Moussaoui himself will also testify against the wishes of his counsel, and analysts predict that his outbursts could disrupt the groundwork defense attorneys have laid in their case against the death penalty. Moussaoui pleaded guilty [JURIST report] last year to six conspiracy charges. If the jury decides that he caused a single death on September 11, he will be eligible for the death penalty and a second phase of the trial will occur, featuring testimony by families of September 11 victims. Otherwise, Moussaoui faces life in prison. AFP has more.

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