More on the trial and prosecution screw up.
[quote=“Associated Press: U.S. tries to revise Moussaoui ruling”]
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A judge was well within her rights to toss out half the prosecution’s death-penalty case against confessed al-Qaida terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui in response to government misconduct, defense lawyers argued Thursday.
Moussaoui’s lawyers said there was no reason for U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema to reconsider her ruling excluding what she called contaminated evidence about U.S. aviation security measures.
[b]On Wednesday, prosecutors asked her to reconsider. They have said it would be waste of time to proceed with the sentencing trial unless they are allowed to present some of the aviation evidence.
There was no indication when, or if, Brinkema would respond.[/b][/quote]
Lawyer who upset U.S. Moussaoui trial put on leave
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The government lawyer accused of improperly communicating with witnesses, hurting the U.S. case against September 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, has been put on administrative leave, officials said on Thursday.
Officials from the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security said Carla Martin, 51, was placed on paid administrative leave on Wednesday. They did not say what disciplinary measures, if any, might be taken.
Martin e-mailed transcripts of the trial’s opening arguments to aviation witnesses who were to testify for both the government and the defence. She also attempted to coach some of the witnesses about their testimony.
She also told one of the witnesses, who had been called to testify for the defence, not to talk to Moussaoui’s lawyers before the trial, the witness said.
Due to Martin’s actions, Brinkema on Tuesday threw out all aviation-related testimony and evidence – about half of the government’s case against Moussaoui. She also warned Martin she might be held in civil or criminal contempt.
[b]In court papers to petition Brinkema to reconsider her decision, prosecutors said Martin’s actions were criminal but the actions of one person should not jeopardise the case.
“For over four years, scores of government agents and attorneys … have interviewed thousands of witnesses and assembled millions of documents,” prosecutors wrote. “In this sea of government attorneys and agents who have assiduously played by the rules, Ms. Martin stands as the lone miscreant.”
“Her aberrant and apparently criminal behaviour should not be the basis for undoing the good work of so many.”[/b][/quote]
[quote=“San Francisco Chronicle”]the government notified the court Monday that Carla Martin, a senior Transportation Safety Administration attorney, did just that by sending copies of court transcripts around to the witnesses as well as summaries of the testimony of FBI Special Agent Michael Anticev, the government’s lead-off witness, when the sentencing trial began March 6.
“We really are left speechless, frankly,” prosecutor David Novak told the judge, conceding that Martin’s actions were “wholly improper” and could seriously hamper the government’s case. “We’re really not in a position to defend her conduct.”
His boss, U.S. Attorney Paul McNulty in Alexandria, wrote the judge saying that, “We view Ms. Martin’s conduct as reprehensible, and we frankly cannot fathom why she engaged in such conduct.”
Without elaboration, prosecutors said Martin no longer works for the Transportation Safety Administration.
In Martin’s e-mails to witnesses, she repeatedly voiced concerns about whether prosecutors were overselling to the jury the FAA’s ability to stop the hijackers at the airports and prevent them from boarding the four planes – even if Moussaoui had tipped off the government that the attacks were coming. [b]Her e-mails appeared aimed at protecting the interests of the FAA.
“We need to be careful in describing how these measures would have impacted the attack and be prepared,” she advised the witnesses, noting that security measures like gate screening procedures are not infallible.
“You need to read this transcript of the prosecutor’s opening statements,” she e-mailed on March 7, the day after the trial began. “It is all about the FAA, and how it would have caught the hijackers and prevented 9/11.”
She advised witnesses that she and “all of us aviation lawyers were stunned by the opening. The opening has created a credibility gap that the defense can drive a truck through.”[/b]
“There is no way anyone could say that the carriers (the FAA and the airlines) could have prevented all short-bladed knives from going through (security gates).”
Martin could not be reached for comment.
Much of the Moussaoui case has been wrapped in secrecy for 4 1/2 years, but [b]Brinkema insisted Monday that the Martin e-mails be unsealed.
“If the death penalty winds up being dismissed,” she said, “the public has a right to know how and why it happened.”[/b]
As the judge left the bench at the close of the day Monday, Moussaoui was led away. At each break in the trial, he typically cries out, “God bless Osama bin Laden!” or “God curse America!”
This time he changed his tune.
“The show must go on!” he shouted.[/quote]