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Moussaoui jurors back deliberating in 9/11 trial

Written by: Staff

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Apr 3 (Reuters) A federal jury reached a verdict in the sentencing trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, who faces the death penalty for conspiracy in connection with the September 11 attacks, the court said today.

''The jury in US v Moussaoui has sent a note to the judge indicating they have reached a verdict,'' a court statement said.

The verdict, reached after about 17 hours of deliberation, was to be read at 4 p.m.(0130 hrs IST). Moussaoui pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy in connection with the hijacked airliner attacks and the jury will determine if he faces execution.

The 12-person jury, after a weekend break, returned to their deliberations that began late on Wednesday after closing arguments.

Federal prosecutors have urged the jury to find that Moussaoui should be executed because he lied to the FBI after being arrested in August 2001, causing the deaths of nearly 3,000 people on September 11.

But defense lawyers said the US government had failed to prove Moussaoui caused a death.

It is the only case brought in the United States in connection with the deadly airliner hijackings.

If the jury decides that Moussaoui lied about the plot and caused the death of at least one person on September 11, then another phase of the trial will be held to see if he receives the death penalty or life in prison.

In dramatic testimony during the trial, Moussaoui said he was meant to fly an airplane into the White House on September 11.

Moussaoui, a French citizen of Moroccan descent, was in jail on September 11. He was arrested on August 16, 2001, in Minnesota on immigration charges after raising suspicions at a flight school.

Reuters SHR VP0147

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