A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that the government does not have to turn over evidence from the trial of Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui to family members of those killed in the terrorist attacks.

The appellate court said a Virginia judge lacked authority to order the government to provide the evidence for use in families' lawsuits against the airline industry and others.

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema of Alexandria last April said the families were entitled to non-sensitive information that prosecutors turned over to Moussaoui's attorneys but never introduced at his trial.

On Wednesday, the appeals court unanimously ruled that Brinkema exceeded her authority.