US judge rejects call for Moussaoui trial date

3rd December 2004, Comments 0 comments

WASHINGTON, Dec 2 (AFP) - A US District Court judge on Thursday rejected a government request to set a trial date for Frenchman Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person charged in the United States in connection with the September 11, 2001 attacks.

WASHINGTON, Dec 2 (AFP) - A US District Court judge on Thursday rejected a government request to set a trial date for Frenchman Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person charged in the United States in connection with the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The prosecution had asked for Moussaoui's trial to begin with jury selection on April 25, 2005 and opening statements and testimony to begin on May 31.

But US District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema rejected the request on Thursday, saying the government's request to set a trial date was "premature" in that a number of issues in the case are pending before the US Supreme Court.

"Until the Supreme Court has ruled on the petition ... this case will remain stayed to conserve limited resources of the judiciary and to minimise disclosure of classified information," Brinkema said.

Moussaoui's lawyers had asked the federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, a Washington suburb, not to set a trial date until the Supreme Court has ruled on his request for it to review his case.

The case of Moussaoui, who was arrested one month before the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, has taken a tortuous path through the US federal court system. Moussaoui has denied any role in the attacks, insisting he was part of a separate plot.

A federal appeals court last month confirmed a decision made in April that Moussaoui could not call three detained Al-Qaeda militants to give evidence during his trial.

It also overturned a lower court ruling that Moussaoui should not face execution if found guilty.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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