Attorney's appearance on stand may be issue at Moussaoui trial


March 19, 2006|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

WASHINGTON -- With the sentencing trial for Zacarias Moussaoui stumbling forward again, lawyers for the two sides were sharply at odds yesterday over when a government attorney would testify about why she tried to influence witnesses.

The coaching efforts by Carla J. Martin of the Transportation Security Administration nearly shattered the prosecution's effort to have Moussaoui, who has pleaded guilty, receive the death penalty for his role in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Defense lawyers want Martin on the stand as soon as tomorrow in the trial over whether Moussaoui, 37, should be executed or sentenced to life in prison.

Prosecutors want to delay Martin's appearance until the middle of the week and have her testify only if she agrees to answer questions about her conduct and not invoke the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

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