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US Judge Denies Moussaoui Request For New Trial


A U.S. judge has denied Zacarias Moussaoui's request that he be allowed to change his plea of "guilty" in involvement in the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks to "not guilty".

Moussaoui said on Monday that he lied on the witness stand throughout his recent conspiracy trial, and that his claim that he was to have hijacked a fifth jet to crash it into the White House was a "complete fabrication."

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema denied his request for a new trial Monday, citing a federal rule that prohibits a defendant from withdrawing a guilty plea after he is sentenced.

Moussaoui was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole last week. He is the only person convicted in connection with the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington.

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In his motion, Moussaoui said he pleaded guilty against the advice of his lawyers because of the effect of solitary confinement, his inability to get a Muslim lawyer, and because his understanding of the American legal system was "completely flawed."

The 37-year-old Frenchman said he was extremely surprised by his life sentence, believing he would be sentenced to death based on the emotions and anger connected to the attacks.