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Federal appeals court mulls releasing Moussaoui evidence to 9/11 victims

[JURIST] The US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals [official website] heard arguments Thursday on whether unintroduced non-sensitive evidence from the criminal trial of Zacarias Moussaoui [JURIST news archive] should be turned over to families of 9/11 [JURIST news archive] victims as requested [motion 1, PDF; motion 2, PDF] by and promised [order, PDF] to them for use in a civil negligence lawsuit against the airline industry and other defendants. Department of Justice attorney Steven Lane argued that US District Judge Leonie Brinkema had no power to order to the government to turn over the evidence and that no precedent exists for allowing civil plaintiffs to interfere with a criminal proceeding. Plaintiffs attorney Nathan Lewin [profile] countered that Brinkema's use of judicial discretion was proper in this case. Lewin is representing about 6,600 plaintiffs in 3 lawsuits against the airline industry and against parties alleged to have funded the terror attacks.

Zacarias Moussaoui pleaded guilty [JURIST report] in April 2005 to six conspiracy charges in connection with the 9/11 attacks and was sentenced to life in prison [JURIST report] in May 2006. AP has more.

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