Defense to present testimony that Moussaoui suffers mental disorder |

Defense to present testimony that Moussaoui suffers mental disorder

WASHINGTON – Lawyers for admitted terrorist conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui want to call a doctor who will testify he has a major mental disorder, likely schizophrenia, in their bid to save him from the death penalty, according to court filings.Defense lawyers have long indicated they would like to introduce psychological testimony on his behalf – despite his insistence that he’s perfectly sane – but their court filings Tuesday contained the most specific claim of illness and the first mention of schizophrenia in the record.A 37-year-old Frenchman of Moroccan descent, Moussaoui is the only person who has been charged in the United States as part of the Sept. 11, 2001 al-Qaida attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.Last April, he pleaded guilty to six conspiracy charges, but insisted he was not part of the Sept. 11 plot. However, he said he was taking flight lessons to prepare to hijack a 747 jet later and fly it into the White House if the U.S. government refused to release a radical Egyptian cleric serving a life term for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and 1995 plots against New York landmarks.Prosecutors already have results of a court-ordered psychiatric exam by a government-appointed doctor in 2002 that ruled out mental illness, finding only personality disorder, a conclusion that is extremely helpful to the prosecution. Just before Moussaoui pleaded guilty, Judge Leonie Brinkema ruled that he was competent.Even though Moussaoui has not let defense doctors examine his mental state, defense lawyers told the court they would call Dr. Nancy C. Andreasen to testify at proceedings that begin next month to determine if he should receive the death penalty or life in prison.She “will testify that Mr. Moussaoui suffers from a major thought disorder, mostly likely schizophrenia,” their filing said.They said she would rely on her analysis of Moussaoui’s writings and court appearances, which have often been vituperative and disjointed, and on reports previously filed by Dr. Xavier F. Amador, a defense psychologist. Amador disagreed with the government-appointed doctor’s 2002 conclusion and argued that further examination was needed. They acknowledged that defense experts have not been able to interview Moussaoui.Prosecutors have said that if Moussaoui’s legal team intends to introduce evidence of psychological problems, the government is entitled to have medical experts of its own choosing conduct a psychological evaluation of the defendant. The government is seeking a court order to that effect.The defense also said it would call clinical social worker Jan Vogelsang to discuss Moussaoui’s fragmented family life, lack of supervision and of formal Islamic training. She will argue that these conditions left him susceptible to radical Islamic training as he confronted racism, cultural change and emotional losses after moving from France to England, the defense said.The defense also wants to call two Parisian academics to testify that Moussaoui’s life story fits into a pattern of how alienated second-generation immigrants of North African heritage in France and London are recruited by radical Islamist movements.A pilot and former FBI agent, Erik Rigler, will be called to testify about aviation security and about sealed factual reports including one on two Sept. 11 hijackers, Khalid al-Mihdahar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, whose presence in the United States was known before the attacks, the court filing said.Brinkema has divided the sentencing trial into two parts. First, prosecutors will try to convince jurors that the FBI would have prevented the Sept. 11 attacks if Moussaoui had told federal agents what he knew about al-Qaida’s desire to fly planes into U.S. buildings. If the jury disagrees with prosecutors, Moussaoui will receive life in prison. If jurors agree with prosecutors, they will decide whether he should be executed.Moussaoui was in custody on immigration violations in Minnesota when the hijacked jets crashed on Sept. 11.—On the Net:District Court: http://www.vaed.uscourts.govVail, Colorado

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