Moussaoui prosecutors ask judge to reconsider aviation evidence ruling

[JURIST] Government prosecutors in the Zacarias Moussaoui sentencing trial [JURIST news archive] asked US District Judge Leonie Brinkema late Wednesday to reconsider her Tuesday order [PDF] prohibiting the government from presenting the aviation portion of its case, including witnesses, testimony, and exhibits. Brinkema barred the evidence after being informed [JURIST report] that a government attorney violated the judge's witness sequestration ruling [JURIST report] and coached witnesses from the Federal Aviation Administration by sharing information and partial transcripts from the government's argument in what Brinkema called in court "the most egregious violation of the court's rules on witnesses" she had seen "in all the years I've been on the bench."

In its motion for reconsideration, the government said that excluding the aviation component of its case was "patently disproportionate" to the prejudice suffered by the defendant in the witness coaching, was "unprecedented and overbroad", made it impossible for the government to present its theory of the case to the jury, and was "grossly punitive." Read the full text of the government motion [PDF]. Reuters has more.

 

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