WASHINGTON – Accused Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui is refusing to meet with his court-appointed psychiatrist — a necessary step toward his goal of representing himself in his upcoming trial, according to a court order Wednesday.
His refusal could lead to a delay in the trial under way in federal court in the Washington suburb of Alexandria, Va.
U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema issued an order Wednesday that said Moussaoui, a former Oklahoma resident, must be evaluated by forensic psychiatrist Raymond Patterson before he can be allowed to fire his lawyers and argue his case.
"The defendant is merely frustrating his own goal of representing himself," Brinkema wrote. "Such irrational behavior strongly suggests that the defendant may, in fact, not be competent to waive counsel."
Brinkema advised in the order that she might send Moussaoui to the Federal Corrections Center at Butner, N.C., a facility specializing in psychiatric evaluations, for a 90-day mental exam.
That process could change the timetable for the trial, which was scheduled for October.
Moussaoui attended flight school in Norman, Okla., but never received his pilot's license.
Moussaoui asked to fire his lawyers during a 50-minute speech in which he called for the destruction of the United States. He said he desired a Muslim lawyer and was refused.
The Supreme Court has upheld that defendants cannot choose their court-appointed attorneys and may not request lawyers of a specific race, nationality, religion or sex.
The federal indictment against Moussaoui, a Frenchman of Moroccan descent, says he mirrored the conduct of the 19 hijackers including training in an Al Qaeda camp, attending flight schools in the United States, purchasing flight deck videos for commercial aircraft, receiving money from an Al Qaeda operative and buying knives.