ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Convicted Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui says he lied on the witness stand about being involved in the plot and wants to withdraw his guilty plea because he now believes he can get a fair trial.
In a motion filed Friday but released Monday, Moussaoui said he testified March 27 he was supposed to hijack a fifth plane on Sept. 11, 2001, and fly it into the White House "even though I knew that was a complete fabrication."
A federal court jury spared the 37-year-old Frenchman the death penalty last Wednesday. On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema gave him six life sentences, to run as two consecutive life terms, in the federal supermax prison at Florence, Colo.
At sentencing, she told Moussaoui: "You do not have a right to appeal your convictions, as was explained to you when you plead guilty" in April 2005. "You waived that right."
She said he could appeal his sentence but added, "I believe it would be an act of futility."
Moussaoui's court-appointed lawyers told the court they filed the motion even though a federal rule "prohibits a defendant from withdrawing a guilty plea after imposition of sentence." They did so anyway because of their "problematic relationship with Moussaoui" and the fact that new lawyers have yet to be appointed to replace them.