WASHINGTON – Sept. 11 conspiracy defendant Zacarias Moussaoui has filed a handwritten motion that seeks release from jail, dropping of all charges and a hearing to present evidence of his innocence.
U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema in suburban Alexandria, Va., released the motion Monday as she appointed a new lawyer to help Moussaoui, who was granted the right last week to represent himself.
Moussaoui, at a hearing Thursday, contended he had evidence the FBI knew he had no connection to the 19 hijackers as charged in the indictment. The government contends Moussaoui was part of the Sept. 11 conspiracy and officials believe he may have planned to be the 20th hijacker.
"Concrete and direct proof" are in possession of the FBI, his former court-appointed lawyers and the court, Moussaoui said.
"These proofs are in my belongings ... confiscated at the time of my arrest on the 17th August" in Minnesota, Moussaoui said. He was initially detained on immigration violations after employees at a flight school became suspicious of his conduct and called the FBI.
Moussaoui, a French citizen, repeated a courtroom statement that the FBI had him under surveillance before his arrest. He also asked that the court subpoena a telephone conversation between an apparent acquaintance — identified by Moussaoui as Al-Attas — and an unnamed imam, or Muslim prayer leader.
Authorities last September detained Hussein Al-Attas. Friends of Al-Attas said he once shared a residence with Moussaoui and drove him to Minnesota.
Brinkema directed that Virginia lawyer Alan H. Yamamoto enter the case to help locate witnesses and evidence for Moussaoui.
"Mr. Yamamoto and his co-counsel must be prepared to try this case if defendant becomes unable to do so," the judge wrote in a two-page order.
Moussaoui, who last week won the right to represent himself at trial, said he wants to be represented by an unidentified Muslim lawyer. The judge said that lawyer has until June 28 to enter the case.
Yamamoto "will be invaluable" to the other counsel, the judge said.
After June 28, Brinkema would appoint another attorney to work with Yamamoto if the lawyer Moussaoui wants does not appear.
The judge's ruling enables Moussaoui's previous court-appointed attorneys to step down. Moussaoui has contended they were conspiring to kill him to keep him from revealing an undisclosed secret.
Brinkema directed a court security officer to arrange for Yamamoto to receive clearances that will enable him to receive classified information from the government that could assist in Moussaoui's defense.
Moussaoui cannot see classified information, the judge ruled, because he might share it with future hijackers.
Brinkema also revealed that Moussaoui's former lawyers had given the court six proposed pretrial motions that they had planned to file.
The proposed motions were forwarded to Yamamoto and Moussaoui to enable them to decide whether to use them.