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Agreement Reached in 'American Taliban' Trial - 2002-06-19

Government prosecutors and lawyers for Taleban sympathizer John Walker Lindh have reached agreement on the use of classified material at his trial later this year.

The federal judge handling the Lindh case says the government has agreed to declassify some documents and summarize others, resolving a dispute with defense lawyers over what evidence may be made public at trial.

John Walker Lindh has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiring to kill Americans and providing support to the Taleban and al-Qaida. He was captured with other Taleban fighters in Afghanistan last November.

Two days ago, the judge rejected defense attempts to have the case against their client dismissed or moved to a different location.

The aggressive defense mounted by the Lindh legal team stands in stark contrast to the situation involving accused terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui.

Mr. Moussaoui is the only person accused of being directly involved in the September 11 terrorist conspiracy and faces the death penalty if convicted. He has denied involvement in the September 11 attacks.

Mr. Moussaoui is acting as his own defense counsel, after winning court permission to fire his defense lawyers. One of his former attorneys, Frank Dunham, openly questions Mr. Moussaoui's mental competency. "If you had a member of your family acting in a bizarre way with bizarre beliefs, I think you would want a little more thorough [mental] exam than what happened in this case, and we did not get it. And we tried," he said.

Mr. Moussaoui is awaiting word from the court on whether he can accept legal help from lawyer Charles Freeman, an American Muslim attorney based in Houston, Texas.