9/11 Convict Slams bin Laden, Asks for Giuliani as Lawyer

Zacarias Moussaoui says he now renounces terrorism
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 20, 2020 2:15 PM CDT
9/11 Convict Says He Now Renounces al-Qaeda
In this photo provided by the Sherburne County Sheriff Office, Zacarias Moussaoui is shown.   (AP Photo/Sherburne County, Minn., Sheriff's Office, File)

The only man ever convicted in a US court for a role in the Sept. 11 attacks now says he is renouncing terrorism and al-Qaeda. Zacarias Moussaoui is serving a life sentence at a federal "Supermax" prison in Colorado; he was arrested in August 2001, lied to the FBI, and is sometimes called the missing 20th hijacker. In a handwritten court motion Moussaoui filed with the federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, last month, said he repudiates Osama bin Laden "as a useful idiot of the CIA/Saudi. I also proclaim unequivocally my opposition to any terrorist action, attack, propaganda against the US," the AP reports. His remarks are a far cry from his 2006 trial, when he taunted victims and flashed a victory sign after a jury opted to send him to prison for life rather than execute him. At his final sentencing hearing, he told the judge "God save Osama bin Laden you will never get him."

Moussaoui, a French citizen, made his renunciation in a petition seeking relaxation of the special administrative measures under which he serves his sentence. In particular, he says he wants either Rudy Giuliani or Alan Dershowitz to represent him as a lawyer, so he can testify in a civil trial filed by victims of the attacks. Plymouth State University anthropology professor Katherine Donahue, who wrote a book about Moussaoui after attending his trial, said she was unaware of any other instance in which he had renounced terrorism or bin Laden and suspected he was being truthful. "I don't see him lying," she says. "There were so many ways he could have helped himself before by lying” but he didn't. US District Judge Leonie Brinkema, who presided over Moussaoui's trial, denied his request.

(Read more Zacarias Moussaoui stories.)

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