Moussaoui Sentenced To Life In Prison

After deliberations that stretched over seven days, a federal court jury Wednesday in Alexandria, Va. sentenced al-Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui to life in prison without parole.

He could have been sentenced to death.

Moussaoui, 37, is the only person charged in this country in connection with the 9/11 attacks.

He admitted under questioning he knew about a plan to use planes to attack the World Trade Center, and testified that he and shoe-bomber Richard Reid were to hijack a fifth airplane on Sept. 11, 2001, and fly it into the White House, although the claim has been questioned.

He had said earlier that the White House would be attacked later if the U.S. refused to release a radical Egyptian sheik imprisoned on earlier terrorist convictions.

Moussaoui had pleaded guilty to conspiring with al Qaeda to attack the U.S., but denied any role in the 9/11 attacks.

He was arrested in August 2001 and was jailed for an immigration violation at the time of the 9/11 attacks, but prosecutors alleged that the attacks could have been stopped had Moussaoui told authorities everything he new about the plot.

Jurors spent about 40 hours wading through a 42-page verdict form that instructed them to make findings on such aggravating factors as whether Moussaoui acted with premeditation as well as potential mitigating factors including whether he’s mentally ill.