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Giuliani Testifies In Moussaoui Penalty Phase

Good for Rudy!

From the DNC’s Associated Press:

Former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, seen here in February 2006, took the witness stand here to testify for the prosecution in the death penalty trial of confessed Al-Qaeda member Zacarias Moussaoui.

Giuliani Tells Moussaoui Jury About 9/11

By MATTHEW BARAKAT

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani described the opening horrors of Sept. 11, 2001, to Zacarias Moussaoui’s death penalty trial Thursday, saying he was unwilling to believe people were jumping to their deaths from the World Trade Center until he saw it with his own eyes.

He said the image of two people jumping together, appearing to hold hands, sticks with him every day. Moussaoui affected a look of boredom when the prosecution played video of victims falling to their deaths.

Giuliani took the stand after prosecutor Rob Spencer braced jurors for the painful testimony they were going to hear over the next few weeks. His presentation opened the final phase of the drawn-out trial that will determine whether Moussaoui is executed or sent to prison for life.

Giuliani said that when he arrived at the scene, his deputy told him how bad the situation was and people were jumping from the high floors of the towers. "I concluded or hoped he was wrong," he said.

But then he saw people falling and "I froze. I realized in that couple of seconds, it switched my thinking and emotions. I said, ‘We’re in uncharted territory.’"

Extra marshals were on hand when Giuliani walked past Moussaoui and took the stand.

Spencer argued that the voices of the victims of the attacks and their anguished families should be all the jury needs to hear to decide whether Moussaoui, an acknowledged al-Qaida terrorist, should die for his crimes.

Spencer described one call from a woman on the 83rd floor of the second tower to fall. "The floor is completely engulfed," she said. "We’re on the floor and we can’t breathe…. I don’t see any more air…I’m going to die, aren’t I?"

Moussaoui, 37, is the only person charged in this country in the Sept. 11 attacks. On Monday, the jury concluded that Moussaoui was directly responsible for at least one death on that day and is therefore eligible for execution.

His trial is to hear the cockpit voice recordings from United Flight 93, which crashed into a western Pennsylvania field on Sept. 11, after passengers fought back against the hijackers. The tape has never been heard publicly.

Prosecutors also planned to summon family members to testify and they were poised to play phone calls from people trapped in the World Trade Center and speaking their last words to 911 operators.

"You cannot understand the magnitude of that day unless you hear it from the victims themselves," Spencer said. Moussaoui smiled several times when the prosecution mentioned his enthusiasm for the attacks.

Defense lawyer Gerald Zerkin acknowledged that evidence on the impact on the victims will be overwhelming. But he urged jurors to "somehow maintain your equilibrium …. You must nevertheless open yourselves to the possibility of a sentence other than death."

Zerkin described how Moussaoui grew up with little religious training and fell under the influence of radical Muslims when he traveled to London in hopes of becoming a businessman.

Spencer countered: "It was his choice to become a terrorist and it was a choice he was proud of."

Prosecutors received the judge’s approval Wednesday to play cockpit voice recordings from United Flight 93.

Many, but not all, of the victims’ relatives are hoping this final phase of the trial will result in a death sentence for Moussaoui.

"I want him to be put to death so that he can just be taken away from this world," Abraham Scott, whose wife Janice died in the attack on the Pentagon, told CBS’ "The Early Show" on Thursday.

"I really miss my wife," Scott said.

But Alice Ann Hoagland of Mountain View, Calif., whose son Mark died on Flight 93, said she hopes Moussaoui will be spared to "demonstrate that we are a nation of mercy."

"If he is executed he will be seen as a martyr in the eyes of his twisted fellows who compose al-Qaida," said Hoagland, also on CBS. "I don’t want him to become a martyr."

Relatives of the Flight 93 passengers were permitted to listen to the 30-minute cockpit recording in April 2002. At that time, the government had grief counselors on hand and warned the families that graphic details would be audible.

While the recording will be played for the jury and the courtroom gallery, it is unclear whether it will be publicly released. Most court exhibits are being made available to the public, but U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema is giving Flight 93 family members until Tuesday to request that the recording not be distributed except as evidence in court.

Moussaoui was in a Minnesota jail on 9/11. Nevertheless, the jury concluded in the first phase of the trial that Moussaoui could have thwarted or at least minimized the attacks if he had confessed his al-Qaida membership and his plan to hijack aircraft when federal agents arrested him in August 2001 after his efforts to obtain flight training aroused suspicion.

The second phase of the trial includes evidence on whether Moussaoui deserves to be executed. Prosecutors intend to identify each of the 2,972 people killed that day by name and photograph to the jury.

The defense has indicated it will try to present evidence that Moussaoui, a Frenchman of Moroccan descent, suffered a difficult childhood, punctuated by racism. They also will seek to introduce evidence of mental illness. A defense expert has said Moussaoui probably suffers from schizophrenia.

Why is it so important to the AP and CBS and the rest of our one party media that Moussaoui not be executed?

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, April 6th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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