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US judge mulls new terror trial for Muslim cleric after Moussaoui evidence revelations

[JURIST] The US federal judge who presided over the Zacarias Moussaoui [JURIST news archive] terrorism conspiracy case suggested from the bench Tuesday that she might order a new trial for a Muslim cleric convicted of soliciting treason, saying that she could no longer trust representations made by the US government in light of recent revelations that it had withheld evidence [JURIST report] during the Moussaoui proceeding. At a post-trial hearing for Muslim cleric Ali al-Timimi [WP profile; JURIST news archive], US District Judge Leonie Brinkema said she felt she could no longer count on the CIA and other government agencies to accurately disclose classified evidence in terror cases. Al-Timimi, an Islamic scholar from Fairfax, Virginia, was sentenced to life in prison [JURIST report] in July 2005 after he was convicted of soliciting others to levy war against the US, inducing others to aid the Taliban, and inducing others to use firearms in violation of federal law.

Last week, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official website] admitted in a letter [PDF text] that it has several recorded interrogations of suspected "enemy combatants", contrary to its denial of assertions in the Moussaoui case that it possessed one audio and two video interrogation tapes. Moussaoui had sought the testimony of several al Qaeda witnesses as part of his defense. Prosecutors said that they learned of the tapes only recently, but insisted that their absence did not affect Moussaoui's trial, as they did not mention either him or the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks [JURIST news archive]. AP has more.

Moussaoui pleaded guilty [JURIST report] in April 2005 to six conspiracy charges [indictment] in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks, including conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries, conspiracy to destroy aircraft and conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction. He received a life sentence [JURIST report] last year after one juror refused to agree to the death penalty [JURIST report].

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