Painful Testimony in Moussaoui Trial

4-10-06 - A judge is warning prosecutors against relying too much on emotional eyewitness testimony in the death penalty trial of al-Qaida conspirator and former Norman resident Zacarias Moussaoui.

Federal Judge Leonie Brinkema said Monday she knows there is no way to avoid emotional testimony, but said overly prejudicial testimony can be grounds for overturning a death sentence. Prosecutors said the would show fewer family photos and will try to keep testimony from each witness under 30 minutes.

The jury already has heard about a half-dozen emotional accounts of the suffering of friends and families of those killed in the 9/11 terror attacks. Monday’s first witness, John Creamer, described the impact of his wife Tara's death on the couple's two children.

Moussaoui was in jail in Minnesota at the time of the attacks but the jury ruled the lies he told to federal agents kept them from identifying and possibly stopping some of the hijackers. Moussaoui lived in Norman in early 2001 while attending a flight school.