Date registered: Jan 2005
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Moussaoui can face death penalty
Moussaoui can face death penalty
Moussaoui's defence say he is a fantasist who played no part in 9/11
The jury in the US trial of confessed al-Qaeda plotter Zacarias Moussaoui has decided he is eligible to face the death penalty when he is sentenced.
The decision means a second phase of hearings will take place to determine whether he will be executed.
Prosecutors argued Moussaoui should face execution because he lied to keep the 9/11 plot a secret. His defence said he played no part in the attacks.
Moussaoui has pleaded guilty to six counts of conspiracy to attack the US.
In order to deem him eligible for the death penalty, the jurors had to agree that Moussaoui's actions led directly to at least one death on 11 September 2001.
The sentencing trial will now enter a second phase, in which testimony will be heard from relatives of people who died in the terror attacks.
The jury must then retire for a second time to consider whether to impose the death penalty on Moussaoui.
Court official Edward Adams read out the jurors' verdict outside the Virginia courthouse.
By this verdict, the jury has found that death is a possible sentence in this case
Court official Edward Adams
In order to decide that Moussaoui was guilty of "conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries", the jury had to find unanimously that the government had established beyond reasonable doubt four facts, he said.
The first two facts were that he was over 18 at the time of the offence and that he had lied to federal agents on 16-17 August 2001, to both of which the jury responded 'yes'.
Mr Adams went on: "Number 3: the defendant participated in the act, contemplating that the life of a person would be taken, or intending that lethal force would be used in connection with a person other than one of the participants in the offence. The jury answered 'yes'.
"Number 4: at least one victim died on September 11, 2001 as a direct result of the defendant's act. The jury answered 'yes'."
The jury also decided that the charges of conspiracy to destroy aircraft and conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction had been proven beyond reasonable doubt, he said.
"By this verdict, the jury has found that death is a possible sentence in this case," Mr Adams concluded.
The nine men and three women began their deliberations late last Wednesday, following closing arguments from both sides.
Prosecutors argued Moussaoui was eligible for the death penalty because by lying about the 9/11 plot to FBI investigators, he contributed to the deaths of nearly 3,000 people.
They cited testimony from Moussaoui during the trial in which he said he was supposed to have flown a fifth plane into the White House on 11 September.
But lead defence lawyer Edward MacMahon said the US government had failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Moussaoui had been involved in the 9/11 attacks.
He described his client, a Moroccan-born French citizen, as a fantasist and al-Qaeda "hanger-on" who was trying to write himself a role in history.
Moussaoui was arrested on 16 August 2001 on immigration charges after the instructor at the flying school he was attending in Minnesota became suspicious of his behaviour.
He told federal agents he was a tourist who wanted to learn to fly for personal enjoyment.
He is the only person to be charged in connection with the 11 September 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.