Moussaoui asks for new trial

Agence France-Presse | May 08, 2006

Less than a week after he was jailed for life over the September 11 attacks, Al-Qaeda plotter Zacarias Moussaoui submitted a motion asking to withdraw his guilty plea so he can have a new trial.

"Moussaoui wishes to withdraw his guilty plea because when he entered the plea his 'understanding of the American legal system was completely flawed'," his lawyers said in the motion.

Moussaoui said in an affadavit "I now see that it is possible that I can receive a fair trial" in the United States.

"Even with Americans as jurors," he went on, "I can have the opportunity to prove that I did not have any knowledge of and was not a member of the plot to hijack planes and crash them into buildings on September 11, 2001."

"I wish to withdraw my guilty plea and ask the court for a new trial to prove my innocence of the September 11 plot," he said.

A jury rejected prosecutors calls for a death penalty last Wednesday and called for the 37-year-old Frenchman to be jailed for life without chance of parole after he admitted six charges of conspiracy over the September 11 attacks.

Moussaoui decided on Friday, while waiting to be transferred to a super-maximum security prison in Colorado, that he wanted to change his plea, his lawyers said in documents submitted to a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, where his trial was held.