[JURIST] US District Judge Leonie Brinkema Friday added a former member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] to the pool of potential jurors who will decide between the death penalty or life in prison for 9/11 suspect Zacarias Moussaoui [JURIST news archive]. Prosecutor Rob Spencer sought to strike the former ACLU member as biased against the death penalty, but Brinkema rebuffed Spencer by noting that the potential juror had indicated that the death penalty is necessary, and that he neither supported nor opposed it on his jury questionnaire [PDF text]. After three days of jury selection for Moussaoui's sentencing trial [case docket] in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Brinkema has accepted 32 potential jurors and rejected 24 in an effort to create a pool of 85 potential jurors. Of the 32 potential jurors, nine have been approved over objections by the defense and five over objections by the prosecution. Brinkema expects to reach the pool of 85 jurors by the end of next week, and then the potential jurors will return March 6 for the final jury selection of 12 jurors and six alternates.
Moussaoui pleaded guilty [JURIST report] last April to six charges of conspiracy [indictment] with al-Qaida to fly planes into US buildings, but denies any involvement in the September 11 terrorist attacks [JURIST news archive] on the World Trade Center. Brinkema barred [JURIST report] Moussaoui from the courtroom Tuesday after several disruptive outbursts, and unexpectedly allowed back [JURIST report] into the courtroom Wednesday. He remained calm, however, throughout Fridays proceedings. AP has more.