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Judge Bars Moussaoui from Courtroom During Jury Selection


A U.S. federal judge has barred confessed al-Qaida conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui from a Virginia courtroom during jury selection for the sentencing phase of his trial.

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema ordered Moussaoui out of the courtroom Tuesday after an outburst, ruling the defendant can watch the jury selection from his cell. She said he is his own "biggest enemy."

The judge's ruling followed another Moussaoui outburst at a pre-trial hearing. Jurors will decide whether he receives a death sentence or life in prison. Opening statements are set for March 6.

Moussaoui was arrested in August 2001 for immigration violations while he was undergoing pilot training. Moussaoui says he was training to fly a jet into the White House, a fact he concealed from federal agents at the time. Prosecutors say that if Moussaoui had been truthful about his al-Qaida connections, the September 11, 2001 attacks could have been prevented.

Judge Brinkema says prosecutors must prove that Moussaoui's lies were directly responsible for the deaths in the terrorist attacks, in order for them to obtain the death penalty.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, and AP .
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