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Moussaoui's Stint As Lawyer Ended

A federal judge Friday revoked the right of al Qaeda defendant Zacarias Moussaoui to represent himself in the only case arising from the Sept. 11 attacks.

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema said Moussaoui's latest motions "include contemptuous language that would never be tolerated from an attorney and will no longer be tolerated from this defendant."

The judge had warned Moussaoui last week that she would revoke his self-representation if he filed "further frivolous, scandalous, disrespectful or repetitive pleadings" or violated any court orders. She has repeatedly told him not to try to use his motions to contact al Qaeda sympathizers from his isolated quarters in the Alexandria Detention Center.

Moussaoui, an acknowledged Osama bin Laden loyalist, is charged with participating in a broad conspiracy with the Sept. 11 hijackers to commit terrorism against the United States.

Brinkema named Moussaoui's court-appointed defense team to represent him. While he has refused to cooperate with the experienced lawyers, the attorneys have been filing motions on his behalf.

The judge had granted Moussaoui the right of self-representation on June 14, 2002. From now on, Brinkema said Friday, she will accept only pleadings submitted by the lawyers, while any motion submitted by Moussaoui "will simply be received for archival purposes."

She said Moussaoui had 10 days to file a written notice of appeal.

The last straw for Brinkema apparently was a pair of recent motions. One requested a classified congressional report concerning Sept. 11 and the other asked for reconsideration of the judge's order imposing penalties on the government.

The two pleadings "ask for relief after the court made clear that all action in his case was stayed" (postponed) pending an appeal by the government, which is trying to block Moussaoui's access to three al Qaeda witnesses.

Brinkema said one of the motions "asks for relief to which the defendant knows he is not entitled. Specifically, the defendant has been advised on numerous occasions that he cannot have access to classified material."

She said the other motion "merely expresses the defendant's dissatisfaction with the Oct. 2, 2003, opinion," which actually favored Moussaoui by banning Sept. 11 evidence and the death penalty.

The motion "offers no new evidence or argument," the judge said.

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