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Friday, 16 August, 2002, 18:56 GMT 19:56 UK
Moussaoui trial postponed
Zacarias Moussaoui before US District Judge Leonie Brinkema
Moussaoui has insisted on representing himself
The trial in the United States of the only man charged so far over the 11 September attacks has been postponed by nearly three months.

A federal judge in Washington ruled that the high-profile trial of Zacarias Moussaoui would now start in early January.


The court's paramount concern is ensuring that the defendant receive a fair trial

Judge Leonie Brinkema
The reason for the delay was given as the volume and complexity of evidence against 34-year-old Mr Moussaoui, who is accused of conspiring to commit acts of terrorism.

He has denied involvement in the 11 September hijackings, but has admitted to being a member of al-Qaeda.

The US blames Osama Bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network for the attacks nearly a year ago in which about 3,000 people died.

Lack of preparedness

Mr Moussaoui is regarded by the US authorities as the "20th hijacker" - the other 19 alleged co-conspirators having died on board the aircraft they seized.

Jury selection was due to begin next month but Mr Moussaoui - who is representing himself - had asked for a postponement, arguing that the strict conditions of his confinement made it impossible to prepare his defence in time.
Rescue workers at Ground Zero
Moussaoui faces charges of conspiracy to commit terrorism

His team of court-appointed lawyers also requested a delay, saying they also needed more time to study the case papers.

Prosecutors had opposed a delay, saying the public and victims deserved a speedy resolution of the case.

But in her three-page ruling, Judge Leonie Brinkema said that although this was a legitimate concern "this court's paramount concern is ensuring that the defendant receives a fair trial".

Moussaoui was detained on immigration charges before 11 September.

His trial is now scheduled to begin on 6 January, with jury selection scheduled for 18 November.


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25 Jul 02 | Americas
19 Jul 02 | Americas
28 Mar 02 | Americas
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