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Moussaoui Public Trial Questioned

Moussaoui Public Trial Questioned

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(Alexandria, Virginia-AP) -- A trial judge is questioning whether the government can proceed with the public trial of accused terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui (zak-uh-REE'-uhs moo-SOW'-ee).

U-S District Judge Leonie Brinkema says that's because prosecutors are operating in a "shroud of secrecy."

Brinkema said she's disturbed the government has classified so many pleadings, orders and court opinions. Brinkema said she joined in Moussaoui's skepticism about the government's ability to prosecute him in open court.

Brinkema's two-page order comes at a crucial time. The government has appealed her secret order granting Moussaoui access to captured al-Qaida prisoner Ramzi Binalshibh (RAM'-zee bin-al-SHEEB').

Moussaoui -- on trial in suburban Washington -- faces the death penalty if convicted of conspiracy to commit terrorism.

He denies being linked to the terror attacks but admits being an al-Qaida loyalist.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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