A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Moussaoui trial witness denies tainting by prosecutorial breach

[JURIST] A government witness who was coached by a Federal Aviation Administration attorney on the US case against accused would-be hijacker Zacarias Moussaoui told US District Judge Leonie Brinkema [official profile] Tuesday that she was not tainted by the extra information she received, echoing an early statement to prosecution lawyers that it would not affect her testimony. Lynne Osmus [FAA profile], head of FAA security at the time of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, said her knowledge of events remained the same. Six other FAA witnesses were called to the hearing, along with government lawyer Carla J. Martin, who sent witnesses e-mails [redacted PDF] about their upcoming testimony that disclosed parts of the government's case contrary to a sequestration order [PDF]. Martin appeared at Tuesday's hearing but was not questioned after she told Brinkema that she had not yet obtained her own lawyer. Brinkema warned Martin that she could be held in civil or criminal contempt for violating her order and told her to come back with counsel no later than Wednesday morning.

Brinkema suddenly halted Moussaoui's sentencing trial [JURIST report] Monday after being informed of the prosecutorial breach. Defense lawyer Edward MacMahon immediately moved to bar the death penalty. Brinkema has scheduled another evidentiary hearing for Wednesday. AP has more.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.