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Juror's Illness Stalls Moussaoui Trial Deliberations

April 28, 2006|Richard A. Serrano | Times Staff Writer

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Jury deliberations in the Zacarias Moussaoui conspiracy trial were expected to resume today after being halted Thursday when a juror fell ill.

U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema did not divulge the juror's name or illness, saying only that the juror was a male who needed treatment by a doctor and prescription medicine.

The nine men and three women began deliberating Monday afternoon and have spent about 16 hours debating whether Moussaoui, who has pleaded guilty in the Sept. 11 conspiracy, should be executed or spend his life in prison with no parole.

The jurors were set to restart their discussions Thursday morning when it was announced that the juror was not present and could not participate in the deliberations. Brinkema at first wanted to put off the deliberations until Monday to give the juror time to recover.

"This is the most sensitive time in the case," she said, referring to jury deliberations. "I don't want any juror in this serious of a case working if he or she is not feeling 100%."

But Thursday afternoon, the court announced that the juror was "feeling better" and that deliberations would resume today.

Moussaoui, 37, twice testified in the trial and said he was being groomed by the Al Qaeda terrorist organization to fly a fifth plane into the White House on Sept. 11. But he was arrested three weeks before the attacks on New York and the Pentagon.

On Thursday, Moussaoui continued his practice of shouting anti-American boasts and taunts. After the juror's illness was announced, he yelled, "Moussaoui biological warfare!"

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