Here is a typical headline

Here is a typical headline introducing one of the strangest, and perhaps most revealing, post-September 11 stories: “Moussaoui tries to plead guilty”. The description of Moussaoui’s unsuccessful attempt to plead guilty is straight out of Alice in Wonderland: “‘I am a member of Al-Qaida….I pledge [allegiance] to Osama bin Laden,” Moussaoui said. Judge Brinkema responded by “threatening to have deputy marshals remove him so he would not incriminate himself.” She scheduled a hearing in one week to give Moussaoui more time to think about his puzzling strategy (i.e., telling the truth). “I don’t need it,” Moussaoui responded to this announcement, “I’ve been thinking for months.” Moussaoui’s attempt to confess has entangled him in legal complications that, experts say, cast doubt on his competency to stand trial: “Robert Precht, a former defense lawyer for Islamic militants who is now an assistant dean at the University of Michigan Law School, said that if Moussaoui repeats what he said Thursday at next week’s hearing, ‘the judge is going to reject the guilty plea.’” Judge Brinkema, second-guessing Moussaoui’s strategy, told him that “if he truly wanted to plead guilty, he should consider negotiating a plea bargain, which could result in the government’s dropping its death penalty demand.” And the “standby” court-appointed lawyer (Moussaoui is representing himself) said that he is “accumulating evidence” about Moussaoui’s “mental status” and may ask the Court to revoke Moussaoui’s right to defend himself based on his conduct at Thursday’s hearing. Of all of the people quoted in the article, the only one who made perfect sense was Moussaoui himself, who reproached Judge Brinkema for cutting off his attempt to confess and plead quilty: “I like you to stop this, this nonsense game that you are playing here. You are denying me every sense of a notion of justice.” As to whether he will repeat his guilty plea next week, Moussaoui said: “Bet on me. I will.”

Responses