Moussaoui spurns court-appointed lawyer
ALEXANDRIA, Virginia (CNN) -- Zacarias Moussaoui declined Tuesday afternoon to meet with an attorney chosen by a federal judge to assist him with his defense in the first U.S. criminal trial stemming from the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Virginia lawyer Alan Yamamoto told CNN he arrived at the jail, the Alexandria Detention Center, without advance warning.
"They went up to ask him if he would see me, and he told the deputy, 'No,'" Yamamoto said. He said he was not given a reason.
He speculated that Moussaoui may not have received a copy of the order by U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema assigning him to the case.
"I am going to attempt to see him again," Yamamoto said.
Moussaoui, 34, a French citizen, told Brinkema in April he wanted to fire his court-appointed attorneys because he did not trust them.
Brinkema decided last week that Moussaoui is mentally competent to handle his own defense, but she said she wanted a professional attorney to help him with court procedures.
"He's running the show," Yamamoto said after his appointment as "stand-by" counsel. "Hopefully he will work with me, and I will be able to work with him."
Federal defender Frank Dunham and death penalty expert Gerald Zirken remain on the case until Moussaoui secures the services of Houston lawyer Charles Freeman, a Muslim attorney who Moussaoui says has volunteered his services.
Freeman, who has visited Moussaoui in jail, has not returned phone calls. Yamamoto said he had not spoken to Freeman, though it was conceivable they could work together. Brinkema has given Freeman until June 28 to confirm his involvement.
Meanwhile, federal prosecutors have begun responding to some of the 15 handwritten motions Moussaoui has submitted to the court in the past seven weeks.
Most of them, unsealed Monday, related to his request to fire his court-appointed attorneys, whom he labeled "blood suckers" and "the Death team," believing they were part of a government conspiracy to bring about his execution.
Moussaoui is accused of conspiring with the hijackers in the plot that resulted in planes crashing into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a rural field in Pennsylvania, killing more than 3,000 people.
Although Moussaoui was jailed on an immigration charge a month before the attacks, prosecutors say he contributed to the victims' deaths by training as a pilot and by lying to federal agents to cover up the plot.
The indictment charges Moussaoui underwent flight training in the United States and weapons training at al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, as did many of the 19 hijackers, and that he received money from a conspirator in Germany.
Moussaoui is charged with six conspiracy counts related to terrorism, aircraft piracy, destruction of an aircraft, using weapons of mass destruction, property destruction, and the murder of U.S. employees. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
He has also filed a motion for a change of venue, saying a jury pool from the Eastern District of Virginia, so close to the Pentagon, would be biased because it would include too many government employees.
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