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Moussaoui judge reverses order requiring 'shoe bomber' to testify at sentencing trial

[JURIST] Pointing to a letter written by lawyers representing Zacarias Moussaoui and a motion filed with the court by federal public defenders who represented Richard Reid [BBC profile], the so-called "shoe bomber," US District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema on Friday vacated a previous order [order, PDF] requiring Reid to testify on behalf of Moussaoui's defense at his sentencing trial. After years of maintaining that he had no specific role in the Sept. 11 attacks [JURIST news archive], in March Moussaoui reversed his story [JURIST report], telling the court that he and Reid were ordered to hijack a fifth plane and fly it into the White House. Earlier this month, jurors in Moussaoui's sentencing trial [case docket] found that Moussaoui was eligible for the death penalty [JURIST report] for his alleged role in Sept. 11. Although Moussaoui has previously said that he wanted to be executed, on Thursday he recanted his execution wish [JURIST report], telling the court that execution was contrary to Islamic teaching. He still made clear, however, that he had no regret for the Sept. 11 attacks.

In vacating her previous order on Friday, Judge Brinkema gave no explanation her decision, citing only the letter written by Moussaoui's defense and the motion filed by Reid's lawyers, neither of which were released to the public. Reid is currently serving a life sentence [CNN report] in Colorado for attempting to blow up an American Airlines flight in 2001. AP has more.

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