Defense psychologist: Moussaoui is schizophrenic with delusions |

Defense psychologist: Moussaoui is schizophrenic with delusions

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A defense psychologist testified Monday that Zacarias Moussaoui is a paranoid schizophrenic with delusions, as defense lawyers presented additional evidence the confessed Sept. 11 conspirator believes he will be freed from prison by President Bush.Psychologist Xavier Amador testified Moussaoui displays symptoms of the brain disorder, including delusions and disorganized thoughts and speech.Moussaoui’s court-appointed defense lawyers believe he has lied on the witness stand twice about having a role in the nation’s worst terrorist attack in order to achieve martyrdom through execution or an enhanced role in history.Amador has never examined Moussaoui, who refused to see him. He said his diagnosis is based in part on conclusions of other mental-health professionals and an analysis of Moussaoui’s actions and writings, including numerous rambling and abusive legal motions Moussaoui filed during the 18 months he represented himself.Last week, in his second appearance as a witness, the 37-year-old Frenchman reiterated his stunning earlier testimony that he was to hijack a fifth jetliner on Sept. 11 and fly into the White House – a plan he had said for years was intended for a later date. He added that he has dreamed Bush will release him before leaving office in 2009 as part of a prisoner exchange for U.S. troops captured abroad, and said he is convinced that will occur.One of Moussaoui guards at the Alexandria Jail, called by the defense Monday, offered more details of Moussaoui’s vision. Sheriff’s Deputy Vikas Ohri said Moussaoui has told him that after Bush frees him, he will “fly to London, write a book, make some money and go back to the mountains of Afghanistan and be al-Qaida.”Earlier defense witnesses described Moussaoui’s impoverished childhood with a violent, alcoholic father and his later embrace of radical Islam, after anti-Arab racism and his background thwarted his desire to become an international businessman.Struggling to save Moussaoui from execution, court-appointed defense lawyers called a clinical social worker, Moussaoui’s high school friends and his older sisters to try to offset his second damaging appearance on the witness stand last week. Clinical social worker Jan Vogelsang testified it was not her purpose to make excuses for Moussaoui’s actions but to understand how he reached that point.They described a boy who witnessed violence at home and endured five stints in orphanages, frequent moves and deep poverty but nevertheless became an engaging and fun-loving teenager known for his smile and his ambition.His Moroccan ancestry and lack of family financial backing, however, helped block his ambitions, first in France and then in London. He withdrew from family and friends in 1995, gained weight, shaved his head and took up Islamic fundamentalism, these witnesses said.Jurors took copious notes during Vogelsang’s testimony. But Moussaoui later said, “It’s a lot of American B.S.”Slumped in his chair, Moussaoui closely watched videotaped testimony from his sister Jamilla.She described him as “a pretty little baby, always smiling. … He was the little sweetheart of the family.”And she described abuse by their father, Omar, who repeatedly beat Jamilla and his wife, Aicha. “He almost killed me; he tried to kill me,” she said. When her mother had money for food, “he ate everything and left us nothing.”When Moussaoui returned from England for a visit in the mid-1990s, “he was very turned inward on himself,” she said. “I no longer liked discussions with him.”Omar is now hospitalized in France for treatment of bipolar disorder. Jamilla has a guardian and is treated for schizophrenia. The oldest sister, Nadia, also has a guardian and is being treated for psychosis with schizophrenic features, records show.Vogelsang said Moussaoui’s mother provided little supervision and no religious training. The family celebrated Christian and Islamic holidays because Aicha wanted her children to integrate into French culture, the social worker said.She said children with childhoods like Moussaoui’s fail to develop normal resilience and adaptability to life’s setbacks. They choose poor role models and fail to deal with feelings of aggression, she testified.On cross-examination, prosecutor David Novak tried to undercut the tone of inevitability that Vogelsang had struck. He got her to acknowledge that Moussaoui’s older brother, Abd Samad Moussaoui, emerged from the same family to become an engineering teacher rather than a terrorist.As a teenager, Moussaoui was rejected as a “dirty Arab” by the family of his girlfriend, Vogelsang said.Two high school buddies from France, Fabrice Guillen in court and Christophe Marguel on videotape, testified how much Moussaoui liked to have fun, party and play sports. Guillen said Moussaoui’s hero was Martin Luther King Jr.Both said he was troubled by racism in France. He was barred from clubs because of his skin color, Guillen said. “He said it wasn’t a big deal … but we all knew it bothered him.”Gilles Cohen, who met 18-year-old Moussaoui in 1986, said they talked regularly about Israeli-Palestinian conflicts. “I am a Jew, he is an Arab, and we were best friends,” Cohen said. “We were proud we exemplified how two peoples could come together.”Imam Abdul Haqq Baker, chairman of the Brixton mosque Moussaoui attended in London, said men like Moussaoui were easy prey for radical Islamists seeking recruits. Radicals who disapproved of Brixton’s moderate stance “would pass out leaflets: ‘Learn the truth about kuffar (infidels),”‘ Baker said.Moussaoui changed dramatically after exposure to the radicals, Baker said.The jury has already found Moussaoui eligible for execution. Even though he was in jail in Minnesota at the time of the Sept. 11 attacks, the jury ruled that lies he told federal agents a month before the attacks kept them from identifying and stopping some of the hijackers. The jury must choose between execution and life in prison.Vail, Colorado

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