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Moussaoui sentencing defense continues with testimony from social worker

[JURIST] A social worker testified Monday that convicted Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] led a troubled childhood and adolescence that ultimately led him to radical Islamic beliefs, although Moussaoui spurned the testimony as he was led from the courtroom for a lunch recess. Jan Vogelsang testified that Moussaoui was shuffled among French orphanages during his earliest years, and that his family struggled through both abuse and mental illness. Moussaoui began to drift toward radical Islam while studying business in the UK in the early 1990s, according to Vogelsang. Vogelsang did not interview Moussaoui personally, but based her testimony on interviews with family members, friends and others who knew Moussaoui.

Testimony resumed Monday only after District Judge Leonie Brinkema [official profile] held a 45-minute closed hearing. The defense has struggled to make its case, with Moussaoui most recently taking the stand [JURIST report] Thursday and offering damaging and wandering testimony. The sentencing trial [JURIST news archive; case docket] will determine whether Moussaoui receives a death sentence or life in prison. The jury has already decided that Moussaoui is eligible for the death penalty [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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