RealNews

U.S.: Moussaoui OK for Civilian Court

The Justice Department said it would be able to try accused Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui in a civilian court while protecting his rights and government secrets. The need to protect both Moussaoui’s rights and sensitive national security information makes the case complex, but “should not breed skepticism about the propriety of prosecuting this case,” the government told a federal judge Monday. The written pleading reaffirmed Attorney General John Ashcroft’s objection to moving the case to a military tribunal, even though some Pentagon and intelligence officials reportedly would prefer that option. A tribunal could provide for greater secrecy and fewer defendant’s rights than a civilian trial. The department’s pleading responded to a stark warning nearly two weeks ago from U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema, who said she was disturbed by the government’s “shroud of secrecy” toward Moussaoui and questioned whether his case could proceed in a public judicial forum. Full Story

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