ALEXANDRIA, Virginia - September 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui said today he had no regrets for those who died in the hijacked plane attacks and told jurors in his death penalty trial he wished "there would be more pain."
He expressed disgust with family members of victims who shared their grief in the courtroom "in order to get the death of someone else".
"We wanted you to have pain in your country," Moussaoui said during 2-1/2 hours of testimony at his sentencing trial. "I just wish it would have happened September 12, September 13, September 14 ... there's no remorse for justice."
Asked by prosecutor Robert Spencer if he had any regrets about the attacks in which nearly 3,000 people died, Moussaoui replied: "No regret, no remorse."
Moussaoui said he had enjoyed recent images in court showing the Pentagon after it was attacked on September 11 and said reports of all the deaths "make my day".
His comments prompted tears from a distraught family member of one victim who eventually got up and left the courtroom.
Moussaoui, 37, who pleaded guilty to six counts of conspiracy in connection with the September 11 attacks, also pulled back from statements made after he was indicted in late 2001 that indicated he would welcome a death sentence.
His lawyer Gerald Zerkin showed him a filing he made to the court in August 2002 in which he said the "greatest jihad in Islam is to speak the truth in front of the tyrant and be executed for it."
Moussaoui said he no longer wanted to include the "and be executed" part of that statement, because he had consulted Islamic books and decided that violated Muslim religious beliefs.
When Moussaoui pleaded guilty last year he vowed to fight the death penalty.
Taking the stand for the second time at his sentencing trial against the advice of his lawyers, Moussaoui criticised his court-appointed defence team. He said their strategy should have included the argument that life in prison was a better punishment since execution would reward him with martyrdom.
Defence lawyers are trying to persuade the jury that Moussaoui is mentally unstable with delusions of importance in al Qaeda and should not be sentenced to death.
Moussaoui said in court last month that he was supposed to fly a fifth plane into the White House as part of the al Qaeda hijacking plot. This testimony contradicted his previous claims that he was not meant to be part of the September 11 hijacking, but was supposed to be in a second wave of attacks.
Many observers thought his testimony solidified the prosecution's case that he was involved in the deaths of 3,000 people on September 11.
Moussaoui, dressed in a green prisoner jumpsuit and white cap, said today his testimony last month likely made little difference to the jury.
"I thought about ... the consequences for me saying I was a part of 9/11. I decided to just put my trust in God and tell the truth and time will tell," he said.
"Even without my testimony, taking into account the emotion of the case, there was definitely a chance I would be found eligible for death," he said.