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Moussaoui jurors hear Flight 93 tape as prosecution rests in sentencing phase

[JURIST] Jurors in the sentencing trial [case docket] of Zacarias Moussaoui [JURIST news archive] on Wednesday heard the cockpit audio recording [transcript, PDF] of the moments before United Airlines Flight 93 [National Park Service website] slammed into a Pennsylvania field on September 11, as federal prosecutors rested their case that Moussaoui should receive the death penalty for his role in the attacks. At the close of the prosecution's case-in-chief, jurors heard the tape portray what was presumably an onboard struggle between the hijackers and the passengers. The defense will begin to present their case Thursday and is expected to argue that Moussaoui has schizophrenia and suffered through an impoverished childhood in an attempt to avoid his execution in favor of life in prison.

Prosecutors also sought to show the jury an audio-visual display featuring the names and photographs of all 3,000 victims of the Sept. 11 attacks [JURIST news archive]. US District Judge Leonie Brinkema allowed only a poster picturing the victims of Flight 93, three victim impact statements and the cockpit recording to be presented to the jury. Although Judge Brinkema held that only the jury and other individuals present in the courtroom could hear the cockpit tape [JURIST report], a transcript [PDF] was made available to the media. AP has more.

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