Moussaoui eligible for death penalty, jury says

A federal jury found al-Qaida conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui eligible Monday to be executed, deciding that his lies to FBI agents led directly to at least one death in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Moussaoui now faces a second phase of his sentencing trial to determine if he actually will be put to death for his role in the worst terrorist assault on the United States.

He sat in his chair and prayed silently as the verdict was read. He refused to stand.

"You'll never get my blood, God curse you all," he said afterward.

The nine men and three women of the jury will hear testimony on whether the 37-year-old Frenchman, who was in jail at the time of the attack, deserves to be executed for his role.

The testimony will include families of Sept. 11 victims who will describe the human impact of the al-Qaida mission that flew four jetliners into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field, reports AP.

According to Bloomberg, the jury in Alexandria, Virginia, said prosecutors proved that Moussaoui's actions led to at least one death in the attacks. Moussaoui testified he knew about the terrorism plot when he was arrested a month before the attacks and lied to FBI agents because he wanted the mission to go forward.

He also told the jury he had planned to hijack a fifth plane on Sept. 11 and fly it into the White House.

"The jury has found that death is a possible sentence in this case,'' court public information officer Edward Adams said in announcing the verdict outside the courthouse. The jury found Moussaoui eligible for capital punishment on all three counts that carry a possible death penalty.

Moussaoui, 37, pleaded guilty in April 2005 to conspiracy charges linked to the attacks. He is the only person charged in the U.S. in connection with Sept. 11. He took the witness stand against his lawyers' advice and testified that he knew about the plot and lied to FBI agents when he was arrested on immigration charges in Minnesota on Aug. 16, 2001.

O.Ch.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team