2 -The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 14, 2006 INR
Moussaoui may escape death penalty NEWS IN BRIEF11
EJudge considers dismissing
death-penalty case against
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - The federal judge
in the Zacarias Moussaoui case said yesterday
she may dismiss the death-penalty prosecution
of the al-Qaida conspirator after a federal law-
yer apparently coached witnesses on upcoming
U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema said it
was "very difficult for this case to go forward"
after prosecutors revealed that a lawyer for the
Transportation Security Administration had vio-
lated her order barring witnesses from any expo-
sure to trial testimony.
Brinkema sent the jury home until Wednesday
while she considers her options. She will hold a
hearing today to determine the scope of the prob-
lem. The TSA lawyer, Carla Martin, and most bf
the seven witnesses - past or present employ-
ees of the Federal Aviation Administration who
received e-mails from Martin - are expected to
Brinkema said she had "never seen such an
egregious violation of a rule on witnesses," and
prosecutor David Novak agreed that Martin's
actions were "horrendously wrong."
Defense lawyer Edward MacMahon asked
Brinkema to dismiss the government's death-
penalty case, saying, "This is not going to be a
At the very least, he said the government's
FAA witnesses should be excluded. But prosecu-
tor Novak protested they represented "half the
Brinkema said Martin had sent e-mails to the
upcoming witnesses in which she discussed the
government's opening statement and trial strat-
egy and included transcripts of the first day's
proceedings, including the testimony of an FBI
witness. MacMahon suggested that the upcom-
ing witnesses were warned to "be careful" if they
were cross-examined about certain topics.
Brinkema said the violation was compounded
by the fact that Martin e-mailed the witnesses
jointly, violating standard practice against joint
interviews of witnesses.
What that leads to is the very real potential
that witnesses are rehearsed, coached or other-
wise that the truth-seeking concept of a proceed-
ing is significantly eroded," Brinkema said.
Brinkema said she also would reconsider the
defense's request of last week for a mistrial -
made after a question from Novak suggested to
the jury that Moussaoui might have had an obli-
gation to confess his terrorist connections to the
FBI even after he had invoked his right to an
Brinkema noted that when Novak asked the
question Thursday she ruled it out of order after
the defense said the question should result in a
Brinkema warned the government at that point
that it was treading on shaky legal ground because
she knew of no case where a failure to act result-
ed in a death penalty as a matter of law.
"This is the second significant error by the
government affecting the constitutional rights of
this defendant and, more importantly, the integ-
rity of the criminal justice system in this coun-
try," Brinkema said yesterday.
Of the seven witnesses whose testimony was
potentially tainted, three were expected to be
government witnesses and four were expected
to be defense witnesses. Novak suggested that,
in lieu of dismissal, perhaps two of the govern-
ment's witnesses should be excluded from trial
and the defense could present its FAA witness
evidence through a stipulation rather than by tes-
timony, meaning the defense witnesses would not
be subject to cross-examination.
If Brinkema bars the government from pursu-
ing the death penalty, the trial would be over and
Moussaoui would automatically be sentenced to
life in prison without possibility of release. The
government could appeal that ruling.
Moussaoui pleaded guilty in April to conspir-
ing with al-Qaida to hijack aircraft and commit
other crimes, and the current trial will determine
his punishment: life in prison, or death.
Brinkema barred prosecutors from seeking the
death penalty against Moussaoui once before, in
2003, after the government refused to allow the
defense to question key al-Qaida leaders in U.S.
custody. But an appellate court overruled her
in 2004 and reinstated the death penalty as an
Moussaoui appeared amused as the lawyers
debated how to proceed. Leaving the courtroom,
he said, "The show must go on."
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales declined
comment on the developments.
Thomas Connolly, a former federal prosecu-
tor in northern Virginia, called the TSA law-
yer's actions "a monumental blunder" that puts
Brinkema in "an impossible position."
"Either she goes forward with a record that is
subject to a strong challenge on appeal and faces
the possibility of having to do this all over again
or she finds the case is now so tainted that she
declares a mistrial and has to do it all over. And
her third option is equally bad: dismissing the
death penalty and not permitting the victims'
families to see the process play out in court."
Aitan Goelman, a former federal prosecu-
tor who worked on the Timothy McVeigh and
Terry Nichols trials for the bombing of the fed-
eral building in Oklahoma City, said he did not
believe the mistake warranted dismissal.
"There's a whole range of remedies," he said.
"Exclusion of witnesses seems to be the punish-
ment that fits the crime."
Moussaoui is the only person charged in this
country with the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. While he
has pleaded guilty to conspiracy, he specifically
denies any link to 9/11 and says he was training
to be part of a possible future attack. Prosecu-
tors, to obtain the death penalty, must prove that
Moussaoui's actoins resulted in at least one death
on Sept. 11.
I a. I ENIIs '110 1111111'
Britain to cut troops in Iraq by 10 percent
Britain said yesterday it will cut its forces in Iraq by 10 percent - a reduc-
tion of about 800 troops - by May because Iraqi security forces are becom-
ing more capable of handling security.
Defense Secretary John Reid said Britain's commitment to the Iraqi people
"Our commitment to the coalition remains certain," Reid said.
Britain had 46,000 military personnel in Iraq during combat operations in
March and April 2003. That dropped to 18,000 in May 2004, and to 8,500 at
the end of 2005.
At the time of the last withdrawal of British troops in October, Reid said that
there were 190,000 members of Iraqi security forces trained and equipped.
Now the total is 235,000, and 5,000 more joined every month, he said.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands
Rumors suround cause of Milosevic's death
A swirl of suspicion surrounded Slobodan Milosevic's death, with evidence emerg-
ing yesterday that the former Yugoslav leader took medication he wasn't supposed to.
Among the scenarios being floated: Drugs smuggled into prison, a poisoning
plot and the possibility Milosevic was undermining his own treatment in hopes
of being sent to Moscow, where his wife and son live in exile.
There was also concern that a funeral in Serbia could ignite nationalist passions
and cause turmoil for the pro-democracy authorities who toppled Milosevic in 2000.
Milosevic was overthrown after a 13-year reign in which many around the world
blamed him for a series of wars that killed hundreds of thousands and left the former
Yugoslavia a splintered ruin.
McClatchy buys Knight Ridder for $4.5 billion
The McClatchy Co. is making its biggest bet yet on the future of the newspaper
industry by agreeing to pay $4.5 billion in cash and stock to acquire Knight Ridder
Inc., a major newspaper publisher more than twice its size.
The addition of The Miami Herald, Fort Worth Star-Telegram and 18 other
papers in fast-growing cities may be less risky than it seems. McClatchy CEO
Gary Pruitt said in an interview yesterday that all the papers are dominant in their
markets and ripe for rapid expansions of their Internet and direct mail businesses,
without requiring deep cuts in newsgathering budgets.
But Pruitt is also counting on paying down acquisition debt by selling The Philadel-
phia Inquirer, the San Jose Mercury-News and 10 other Knight Ridder newspapers.
Bush: Iraqi insurgents' goal is civil war
President Bush said yesterday insurgents in Iraq were trying to ignite a
civil war by escalating violence and warned there will be more "chaos and
carnage in the days and months to come."
Even on a particularly grim day, when four Iraqi bodies were found hang-
ing from utility towers and Iraqis coped with the deaths of at least 58 people
the day before when car bombings and mortar rounds plagued Baghdad's
Sadr City slum, the president said progress was being made.
There was relative peace in Iraq yesterday, even though bomb blasts and
shootings in Baghdad and north of the capital killed at least 15.
Swarms of tornadoes ravage Midwest
Storms kill 10, destroy
homes, close University
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Swarms
of tornadoes killed at least 10 people
across the Midwest, shut down the Uni-
versity of Kansas and caused so much
damage in Springfield that the mayor
compared it to the aftermath of Hurri-
The violent weather started dur-
ng the weekend with a line of storms
that spawned tornadoes and down-
pours from the southern Plains to the
A second line of storms raked the
region yesterday, with rain, hail and
fierce wind tearing up trees and homes
from Kansas through Indiana. To the
northwest, the vast weather system
pulled cold air in Canada, generating
snowstorms that cut off power to thou-
sands and shut down schools in South
Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Illinois' capital was hit hard twice
n 24 hours, first by a tornado and then
strong wind early yesterday that blew
debris through the city. Power lines were
down across Springfield, trees uprooted
and windows blown out.
"It's just amazing how devastating
it is," Mayor Tim Davlin said yester-
day after daylight let him see the extent
f damage. "It looks like the pictures
ve saw a couple months ago after
The tornado that struck Springfield
on Sunday evening was one of about 20
that broke out along a 400-mile patch
across Missouri and Illinois, National
Weather Service meteorologist Ed Shi-
mon said yesterday.
Most major roads into the city were
closed, and police searched damaged
homes and businesses for people who
could be trapped, said city spokesman
Ernie Slottag. At least 24 people were
treated for minor injuries.
Two hotels looked like they were still
under construction, with missing roofs
and blown-out windows. A nearby Wal-
Mart store had also lost its roof.
Even the five-story Illinois Emergen-
cy Management Agency building was
damaged, its roof partly torn off and the
top floor flooded, said IEMA spokes-
woman Patti Thompson. The Capitol
lost two windows, and the governor told
nonessential state employees in Spring-
field they weren't required to report to
Missouri was also hit hard by the
weekend storms, with at least nine people
killed and hundreds of homes and busi-
nesses destroyed or damaged. Hail as big
as softballs pounded parts of the state.
Bobby Ritcheson, 23, said he
watched as a neighbor was killed south
of Sedalia, Mo.
"The trailer came down right on top
of her," Ritcheson said.
Homes were destroyed along a pato of;
more than 20 miles south of St. Louis,
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
A caption on yesterday's front page incorrectly stated that peregrine falcons are
endangered. They were taken off the federal list of endangered species in 1998.
In a sidebar on yesterday's front page (Burton's Birds), the scientific name of per-
egrine falcons should have been falco peregrinus.
Due toan editing error, the name of Muslim Students' Association-Vice Presi-
dent Wajeeha Shuttari was misspelled in a story on yesterday's front page (A2 says
Please report any error in the Daily to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Eric Moll, right, and Josh Schremp search the remains of a friend's home for his hearing
aids Sunday, after one of several tornadoes touched down near St. Mary, Missouri.
At the University of Kansas, where
60 percent of the buildings were dam-
aged by weekend storms, Provost David
Shulenberger said classes were canceled
yesterday because of safety concerns
about debris falling from roofs. The
Lawrence campus was littered with
trees, roof tiles and window glass.
Two trees fell through Rhonda Burns'
mobile home in Lawrence early Sunday.
"If the wind had shifted that tree just
a few inches, I wouldn't be talking to
you," she said.
Tornadoes also destroyed dozens
of homes Sunday in Oklahoma and
DoNN M. FRESARD
Editor in Chief
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Mad cow disease
Letters to the Editor
Office hours: Sun.-Thurs. 11 a.m. - 2 a.m.
One cow infected,
but offending beef hasn't
entered food supply
A cow in Alabama has tested posi-
tive for mad cow disease, the Agri-
culture Department said yesterday,
confirming the third U.S. case of the
The cow did not enter the food sup-
ply for people or animals, officials
said. The animal, unable to walk,
was killed by a local veterinarian and
buried on the farm.
"We remain very confident in the safe-
ty of U.S. beef," said the department's
chief veterinarian, John Clifford.
The news came as the Bush admin-
istration worked to reassure Japan and
other foreign customers of American
beef. Japan halted U.S. beef ship-
ments in January after finding veal
cuts with backbone - cuts that are
eaten in the U.S. but not in Asia.
Japan was the top customer of
American beef until the first U.S.
case of mad cow disease prompted a
ban it had only recently lifted.
"We would not anticipate that this
would impact our ongoing negotia-
tions," Clifford said. "Our product is
10 years of age," Clifford said. Inves-
tigators are working to pinpoint the
cow's age, he said.
The age of the cow is important
because the U.S. put safeguards in
place nine years ago to prevent the
disease from spreading.
The U.S. banned ground-up cattle
remains from being added to cattle
feed in 1997. Eating contaminated
feed is the only way cattle are known
to contract the disease.
Older animals are more likely to have
been exposed to contaminated feed cir-
culating before the 1997 feed ban.
In Canada, which enacted a simi-
lar feed ban in 1997, the most recent
case of mad cow disease was in an
animal born after the feed ban, rais-
ing questions about enforcement.
That case was confirmed in January
The Alabama cow had spent less
than a year at the farm where it died,
Clifford said. Investigators are work-
ing to determine where the cow was
born and raised and locate its herd-
mates and offspring, Clifford said.
The Agriculture Department has
been considering when to scale back
its higher level of testing for mad cow
disease. After the first case of BSE,
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