9/11 cockpit recording allowed in Moussaoui trial

WASHINGTON - The cockpit voice recording from one of the aircraft hijacked on September 11 can be played for the jury in Zacarias Moussaoui's sentencing trial, a federal judge has ruled.

US District Judge Leonie Brinkema said the government could introduce into evidence the transcripts and cockpit recording from United Flight 93, which is believed to have been targeted at the Capitol in Washington but crashed into a Pennsylvania field.

The tape was played in 2002 for families of the victims aboard the doomed plane. Passengers apparently struggled with the hijackers before the aircraft crashed.

Prosecutors want to use the recording to help show what happened on September 11, including how passengers were treated by the hijackers.

Brinkema said she was waiting to hear from family members of the passengers and crew on Flight 93 before deciding whether to allow the transcript and recording to be made public.

If any family member objects, the judge will order the transcript and recording sealed after they are presented in court.

Moussaoui, an admitted al Qaeda member, has pleaded guilty to six counts of conspiracy in connection with the September 11 attacks.

During testimony in the first phase of his sentencing trial, Moussaoui said he was meant to fly a fifth plane into the White House on September 11.

The second phase of Moussaoui's sentencing trial begins on Thursday when the jury will begin hearing evidence before deciding whether the Frenchman of Moroccan descent should be executed for his crimes.

On Monday the jury found Moussaoui was eligible for the death penalty.

- REUTERS

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