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BREAKING NEWS ~ Judge rejects Moussaoui bid to pull guilty plea as 'too late'

[JURIST] Federal judge Leonie Brinkema late Monday afternoon quickly rejected a surprise bid by September 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui [JURIST news archive], officially sentenced [JURIST report] only last Thursday to life in prison, to withdraw his guilty plea [JURIST report] and obtain a new trial. In a brief Order Brinkema said:

Defendant’s Motion to Withdraw must be summarily denied on the basis of Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(e) which provides that “[a]fter the court imposes sentence, the defendant may not withdraw a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, and the plea may be set aside only on direct appeal or collateral attack.” Because defendant was sentenced on May 4, 2006, his motion is too late and must be denied on this basis alone. Accordingly, it is hereby.
Brinkema's order is subject to appeal within 10 days.

In an affidavit accompanying his motion filed earlier Monday, Moussaoui said that he wanted to withdraw his original plea because
I now see that it is possible that I can receive a fair trial even with Americans as jurors and that I can have the opportunity to prove that I did not have any knowledge of and was not a member of the plot to hijack planes and crash them into buildings on September 11, 2001.
Read the full text of Brinkema's order [PDF].

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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