TOPICS > Politics

Sept. 11 Defendant Denied Aviation Information

BY Admin  June 12, 2002 at 2:28 PM EDT

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema agreed with prosecutors that aviation security is similar to national security information and should not be shown to Moussaoui, even though he is facing the death penalty.

In her ruling, Brinkema agreed with prosecutors that giving the defendant access to the information could jeopardize U.S. aviation.

“There remains the risk that, despite the security measures presently in place, if the defendant were allowed access to these materials, they could be disseminated to others intent on attacking civil aviation,” the judge wrote.

According to the Justice Department, Moussaoui was supposed to be the 20th hijacker on Sept. 11th. He was arrested in Minnesota in August and was in jail on the day of the attack.

The judge also denied Moussaoui’s lawyers’ request to hold in private a hearing on whether the defendant is competent to represent himself.

Moussaoui said in April that he wished to fire his lawyers, who have filed a psychological report stating that “there is a compelling and reasonable basis for continuing concern that Moussaoui’s decision to waive his right to counsel may be the product of a mental disease or defect.”

His attorneys argue that their client’s competency hearing should be private due to his “proclivity to make statements against his own interest.” In April, the defendant told the courtroom he prayed for the destruction of the United States and Israel.

The government argued that just because the defendant makes self-incriminating comments does not mean he is mentally incompetent. The court-appointed psychiatrist believes Moussaoui is mentally competent to represent himself.

Meanwhile, Germany and the U.S. are said to be close to an agreement on how to share evidence that allegedly connects Moussaoui to the al-Qaida terrorist network.

Germany has a constitutional ban on the death penalty and on providing evidence that could lead to a conviction that results in an execution. Officials from both governments are negotiating how Germany can aid the American case without breaking German law.