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Moussaoui barred from court

Al Qaeda plotter ousted after sparring with judge

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Confessed Al Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui again disrupted his sentencing trial with insults and epithets yesterday and was barred from the courtroom while a jury is selected to decide whether he is put to death or imprisoned for life.

After verbally sparring with Moussaoui for about 15 minutes, US District Judge Leonie Brinkema ordered that he must watch the remainder of jury selection on closed-circuit television from his courthouse cell. That could take until March 6, when opening statements are scheduled.

Brinkema said her main purpose in yesterday's hearing was to determine ''how Mr. Moussaoui plans to behave: . . . Whether you plan to remain quiet . . . or whether you plan to make speeches."

Moussaoui was ejected four times on Feb. 6 when he denounced his court-appointed lawyers in front of four groups of prospective jurors. About 500 northern Virginia residents filled out questionnaires that day about their attitudes toward the case, the death penalty, Muslims, and the FBI.

The 37-year-old Frenchman of Moroccan descent pleaded guilty last April to conspiring with Al Qaeda to fly aircraft into buildings in the United States but has denied any role in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Moussaoui says he had been training to fly a 747 jetliner into the White House as part of a subsequent plot.

When Brinkema asked how he would behave, Moussaoui walked to the lectern and pulled out what seemed to be a handwritten speech. ''You have been trying to organize my death for four years," Moussaoui told her.

Clad in a white knit cap and green prison jump suit with ''prisoner" in white block letters on the back, Moussaoui launched into another attack on his lawyers and in the process offered diatribes against President Bush and the French people.

At various points, he called Bush ''a crusader" who was ''launching a new campaign of revenge against terrorists."

Despite his French citizenship, he said in French-accented English: ''I'm not French. . . . I stand here as a Muslim only. I do not stand here with a nation of homosexual crusaders."

Brinkema repeatedly tried to quiet him. But Moussaoui complained that for four years she had denied him an opportunity to explain his objections to the lawyers.

''Today is my day," he plunged on. ''If I can't make sure that those people are not going to represent me, I know that I am dead."

He referred to his three attorneys as a ''federal lawyer," a ''KKK" (Ku Klux Klan), and a ''geisha."

Brinkema ruled that Moussaoui had forfeited his right to be present for jury selection but said she might reconsider if he later agreed to behave.

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