Thursday, April 27, 2006

Ill juror fails to show up

Judge Brinkema sent the remaining eleven jurors home after one of them called in sick, said to be suffering from a migraine.

There is a lot of reading of the tea leaves at the courthouse as to how the deliberations are going. Are some of the jurors wearing jeans? no verdict today! The unconfirmed migraine is sure to add to the speculation.

The juror is feeling better now and deliberations will resume tomorrow morning.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Closing arguments in Moussaoui death penalty

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Raskin led the government's closing argument in the final phase of the trial where the jury will decide whether to recommend the death penalty for Zacarias Moussaoui.

Moussaoui mocks his court appointed attorneys as they attempt to spare his life. Defense attorney Gerald Zerkin showed a picture on a TV screen of Moussaoui's one time hero, Rev. Martin Luther King, and then his current hero, Bin Laden at which Moussaoui made a V for victory sign.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Hu heckler in court

Falun Gong activist Wen Yi Wang was charged with "willfully intimidating, coercing, threatening and harassing a foreign official".

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Flight 93 relatives testify for defense

In the first sketch Jennifer Glick tells of the loss of her brother Jeremy and about "Jeremy's Heroes", a program founded in his memory.

The second sketch shows Alice Hoagland whose son, Mark Bingham, was one of those who led the struggle to thwart the hijacking.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Moussaoui enjoys the show, then tires of it

Moussaoui was entertained during three days of testimony by mental health experts testifying for his defense. Dr Michael First (see first sketch) told the jury that Moussaoui is so convinced by his dream that President Bush will release him from prison and place him on a plane to Heathrow that he views his death penalty trial as inconsequential. Rather than appreciate the seriousness of his situation he spends his time in court being amused and composing remarks such as "crazy, or not crazy, that is the question" and "Moussaoui flew over the cuckoo's nest" that he shouts on his way out of the courtroom.

He gave the thumbs up to Assistant U.S. Attorney David J. Novak after his particularly aggressive cross-examination of a defense psychiatrist on Tuesday.

But toward the end of the day he begins to show signs of growing weary and often looks up at the clock on the wall behind him.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Moussaoui's hateful testimony

In three hours of testimony a defiant Zacarias Mousaoui expressed not regret, but glee at the suffering caused by the attacks and seemed to take pleasure in pouring vitriol onto the still raw wounds of 9/11.

When asked about the death of Navy Lt. Cmdr. Vince Tolbert, whose image was displayed on a TV screen, Moussaoui said "It make my day".

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Pentagon and Flight 93

After two and a half days of testimony about the Twin Towers, the jury considering the death penalty for Moussaoui today was presented testimony and evidence regarding the Pentagon attack and the hijacking and crash of Flight 93.

In the first drawing Lt. Col. John Thurman, who worked at the Pentagon, testifies about the attack.

In the second drawing a Detective Investigator with the New Jersey State Police introduces tapes of two calls to the control tower from United Flight 93.

Throughout the three days of often horrible testimony Moussaoui has seemed bored, bemused and only occasionally interrested. On his way out of the courtroom today, right after gruesome photos of charred bodies at the Pentagon had been displayed, Moussaoui shouted "Burn all Pentagon next time."

Friday, April 07, 2006

Moving testimony

The Moussaoui jury yesterday heard heart rending testimony from several witnesses who had lost loved ones from the 9/11 attacks.

Chandra Shekhar Kalahasthi, pictured above, was the last witness of the day. He and his sister, close in age, grew up in a small village in India. Their mother having mental retardation, and abandoned by their father, they were raised by grandparents.

Chandra became a software engineer and his sister, Prasanna, earned a degree in dentistry.

He told of his sister resisting a marriage arranged by their father, but that when she met her prospective groom she fell deeply in love. She married Vamsi and together they moved to Los Angeles.

Distressed after her husband died aboard one of the hijacked planes, she called Chandra in India and asked him to come to LA. When he arrived he found she had hanged herself. He read her very moving suicide letter from the witness stand.

Guiliani recalls 9/11

Former Mayor Rudy Guiliani recounted the day the twin towers of the World Trade Center came down.
As he narrated a video of the second tower being struck, Moussaoui smiled and traced the path of the plane with a forefinger.

On his way out of the courtroom at mid-morning break Moussaoui exclaimed "burn in the USA".

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Moussaoui Verdict

You really can't prepare a verdict drawing ahead of time.

Sometimes I've tried to get a head start on a verdict sketch by pencilling in the the clerk or foreperson reading the verdict or even the defendant and his attorneys standing. Reporters often do the same thing, writing much of their story in anticipation of a verdict.

It doesn't work very well because even though the court personel assures you that the clerk will stand and read the verdict and that it has always been done that way, this time she'll forget to stand or the judge will decide to read the verdict sheet for a change.

Yesterday Moussaoui ignored the judge's instruction to stand, clenched the arms of his chair and muttered as the verdict was read. As he was led out of the courtroom he exclaimed in a loud voice "You'll never get my blood! God curse you all!"

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Onion knows