ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The federal judge in the Zacarias Moussaoui case said Monday she may dismiss the death-penalty prosecution of the al-Qaida conspirator after a federal lawyer apparently coached witnesses on upcoming testimony.
U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema said it was “very difficult for this case to go forward” after prosecutors revealed that a lawyer for the Transportation Security Administration had violated her order barring witnesses from any exposure to trial testimony.
Brinkema sent the jury home until Wednesday while she considers her options. She will hold a hearing Tuesday to determine the scope of the problem. The TSA lawyer, Carla Martin, and most of the seven witnesses “” past or present employees of the Federal Aviation Administration who received e-mails from Martin “” are expected to testify.
Brinkema said she had “never seen such an egregious violation of a rule on witnesses,” and prosecutor David Novak agreed that Martin’s actions were “horrendously wrong.”