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4th Circuit rejects Moussaoui appeal

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed today the conviction and life sentence of Zacarias Moussaoui on charges related to the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

Moussaoui pleaded guilty to the charges but contended that the pleas were involuntary because he had been deprived of the right to counsel of his choice and to exculpatory evidence before he entered the pleas.

The three-judge 4th Circuit panel rejected those claims in a 77-page opinion concluding with the finding that there was no evidence that the failure to produce exculpatory evidence would have made a difference in his decision to plead guilty.

If such evidence turns up after further review of the tapes of interviews of other terrorists, collateral review is still available to Moussaoui, Chief Judge William B. Traxler Jr. wrote for the panel.

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