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Judge Rules U.S. Must Provide Statements From Qaeda Leaders

The trial judge in the case against Zacarias Moussaoui has ordered the Justice Department to provide defense lawyers with any statement made by captured leaders of Al Qaeda that would tend to exonerate Mr. Moussaoui, according to court papers made public today. The judge, Leonie M. Brinkema of Federal District Court in Alexandria, Va., said any such statements “must be promptly produced to the defense in compliance with the government’s continuing obligation to provide exculpatory evidence in its possession.” Judge Brinkema’s orders, made in a pair of rulings on March 28 and April 1, could be an important victory for Mr. Moussaoui and his court-appointed lawyers, who have demanded access to the Qaeda leaders, an issue that has delayed his trial and has threatened to derail his prosecution in a civilian court. Mr. Moussaoui, a French citizen, is the only person charged in an American court with conspiring in the Sept. 11 attacks. Acting as his own lawyer, he has contended in recent court papers that the captured Qaeda leaders know he had nothing to do with the Sept. 11 attacks and should be allowed to testify at his trial. Full Story

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