Illness Delays Moussaoui Deliberations

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Zacarias Moussaoui's reaction to the news the jury had been sent home because of a sick juror was, "Moussaoui biological warfare."

The comment came as the al Qaeda conspirator was led out of the courtroom outside Washington today.

The judge scheduled deliberations to resume tomorrow, but she says the jury may not go back to work until Monday if the sick panelist doesn't recover quickly. CBS Radio News correspondent Barry Bagnato reports that the jury panel will not deliberate at all Thursday, because it can only meet as a complete group.

According to CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen, if the juror is seriously ill and cannot continue to deliberate at all, an alternate would be selected and deliberations — but not the whole trial — would have start again.

Today was to have been the fourth day of deliberation on whether Moussaoui should be executed or jailed for life for his role in 9/11.

The jury has deliberated for 16 hours this week.

At a short hearing with eleven jurors and the lawyers, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema said when the juror called in sick, he suggested it's something the juror has had before and needs to get on medication.

She also expressed concern several times about the effect of medication on the juror, CBS' Stephanie Lambidakis reports.

"I want a juror to be 100 percent. I don't want a 90-percent juror ... this is a very stressful situation," Brinkema said.

Wednesday, the judge turned down a request from reporters from 14 news organizations to ask jurors to discuss their verdict once the trial ends.

"I do not believe it is appropriate for the court to serve as an intermediary between the media and the jurors," Brinkema said in a letter to the news organizations. "Accordingly, I will not communicate your request to the jurors."

After 6 1/4 hours of work on Wednesday, the nine men and three women had deliberated for 16 hours over three days. They were to return Thursday morning.

Jurors have asked only one question — a request on Tuesday for a dictionary. U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema denied the request, saying that giving them a dictionary would be like placing extraneous evidence in the jury room. She said jurors could submit a written question if they needed specific definitions.

Earlier this month, this jury found Moussaoui eligible for execution. Although Moussaoui was in jail on immigration charges on Sept. 11, the jury ruled that lies he told federal agents in the month before Sept. 11 kept them from identifying and stopping some of the hijackers.
  • Joel Roberts

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