For four days last week, Monday through Thursday, prosecutors slowly began to roll out their case. FBI agents described Moussaoui's arrest and laid the groundwork for the trial's next phase. They would have TSA and FAA officials tell the jury that had Moussaoui cooperated with the FBI, the government would have prevented the attacks.
But as the trial unfolded, Martin was -- without prosecutors' knowledge -- sowing the seeds of a monumental legal mess.
Osmus had put together a PowerPoint display for prosecutors. It was to show the jury various options the FAA would have had in the late summer of 2001 to try to stop an airplane hijacking. The measures included beefing up airport security, hunting for small knives and box-cutters carried by passengers, and posting suspected terrorists' names on watch lists.
Prosecutors in their opening statement gave the impression that the FAA would have barred the hijackers from boarding the aircraft.
"We would have prevented the terrorists from getting on the plane and getting on the plane with the weapons they used to turn those aircraft into weapons to kill Americans," Spencer told the jurors. "It would have been a straightforward effort to keep those hijackers and to keep anyone with a knife or a box-cutter off a plane."
According to Osmus, Martin was alarmed at that assertion. The day after the opening statement, Martin downloaded the transcript and sent it around to Osmus and half a dozen others planning to testify.
Martin knew there was no way the FAA could guarantee 100% failsafe security and, in hindsight, she probably was right, the witnesses have said. But, they said, she seemed bent on shaping their testimony to reflect that.
In one e-mail, Martin highlighted portions of the opening statement that she disagreed with, calling their attention to what she would have told the jury. The transcript was 129 pages. "She asked us to [read] it, and I didn't know there was any reason not to do it, so I did as she asked," Osmus said.
Martin warned Osmus to be careful under cross-examination, telling her the defense "could drive a truck" through the prosecutor's opening remarks. Martin also told her that she had lawyer friends with United and American airlines who were troubled by the prosecution's statement.
Like the other witnesses, Osmus had no idea about the judge's rule against witness tampering. But she did not feel comfortable about all the coaching.
"I considered talking to Carla about it," Osmus said. "I decided not to ... because I assumed since she was an attorney working on this case, she knew what the rules were."
Claudio Manno, the FAA's deputy assistant administrator for security and Osmus' assistant, also was sent the transcript. He skimmed about 70 pages because Martin told him to read it. But Manno, feeling under siege, turned to an FAA attorney for advice and tried to avoid Martin over at the TSA.
"She was really taking up a lot of the time that we needed basically to do our everyday job," he said.
Still the Martin e-mails kept coming. Manno said she was briefing him on other subjects that might come up in his testimony -- such as how the FAA responded to earlier plots to blow up planes over the Pacific and to dive bomb an aircraft into CIA headquarters.
"I don't know what Ms. Martin was thinking.... Whether she was trying to prepare me or what she was doing, I can't say."
Martin had Matthew Kormann, a TSA liaison officer, search for documents and review them for their classified status. It appeared she was looking for material to back up how she believed the FAA would have responded had the agency known the Sept. 11 attacks were coming.
Kormann said he gathered the material, some still classified, and dropped it off for Martin at TSA headquarters. In meetings last week, he said, she updated him on how the trial was going. He said she also advised him that he had been listed as a defense witness, and instructed him not to cooperate with the defense.
And then on Saturday, the day after Osmus alerted prosecutors to Martin's behavior, Kormann's phone rang at home. Martin was frantic. He said she told him to forget everything they had discussed and cited the judge's ruling on witnesses.
"That was the first time I heard that," he said.
Martin has not spoken with reporters, and her attorney declined to comment. She faces possible civil or criminal contempt charges, and was expected to appear before Brinkema this week.
Prosecutors said in court papers Wednesday that her behavior was "aberrant and apparently criminal."
Trial lawyers, said Kreindler, would know how to prep witnesses without shaping their testimony, would know where the line was between preparing witnesses and coaching them.
"It's second nature to trial lawyers not to interfere with the substance of a witness' testimony," Kreindler said.
He speculated that Martin might have thought she was protecting the airlines, something she has done all her career.
"She's a nice person, I've known her for 17 years, through Pam Am 103 and 9/11 and at aviation conferences. The unfortunate thing is what she did," Kreindler said.