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U.S. to Compromise In Moussaoui Case

The government is planning to propose a compromise today that could break the legal deadlock over access to al Qaeda detainees that is threatening to derail the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, sources close to the case said yesterday. In a filing due today in federal court in Alexandria, prosecutors are expected to suggest that Moussaoui be given some form of limited access to Ramzi Binalshibh, a top al Qaeda operative who may have information vital to Moussaoui’s defense, the sources said. Moussaoui has sought to question Binalshibh, and U.S.. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema recently ordered prosecutors to produce Binalshibh for a deposition. The government appealed that ruling, arguing that making Binalshibh available could harm national security. But the government acknowledged in court papers released yesterday that it is willing to consider alternatives, known as “substitutions.” That revelation came in briefs filed last month to the Richmond-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. The documents, originally filed under seal, were released publicly yesterday with classified information redacted. Prosecutors said in the papers that although Moussaoui’s defense will “likely never be permitted” a full deposition of Binalshibh, other possibilities, such as “limited stipulations” of facts from Binalshibh’s interrogation, should be considered. Full Story

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