Moussaoui not insane, doctor says

April 21, 2006|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- A psychiatrist testified for the government yesterday that convicted terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui might exhibit symptoms of personality disorder but does not suffer from paranoid schizophrenia.

Dr. Raymond Patterson, undercutting the defense case that Moussaoui is ineligible for the death penalty by virtue of insanity, said Moussaoui's outbursts - last week Moussaoui called Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh "the greatest American" - were nothing more than a calculated part of his war against the United States. Patterson interviewed Moussaoui three times in his jail cell for a total of seven hours. He testified during the rebuttal phase of the government's case after the defense closed the main part of its case.

After weeks of contentious testimony, the two sides found common ground yesterday on one point: that al-Qaida almost surely had no intention of using convicted "shoe bomber" Richard Reid in its attacks on New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed to a written stipulation that it was "highly unlikely" that Reid could have been part of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Reid is serving a life sentence for trying to blow up a U.S. flight over the Atlantic Ocean in December 2001. Moussaoui's lawyers had sought Reid's testimony to bolster their argument that Moussaoui is insane and thus ineligible for the death penalty. Instead, they had to settle for the stipulation entered into the court record yesterday.

Before closing its case, the defense called on several more relatives of World Trade Center and Pentagon victims to testify, as others did Wednesday, that healing and reconciliation have become more important than revenge in their effort to put Sept. 11 behind them. The two sides will present their closing arguments as early as Monday, and the jury will begin deliberating whether Moussaoui should live or die.

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