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Moussaoui trial: more heat than light in the end

Judge tells Al Qaeda terrorist he won't go out in a 'bang of glory' as she sentences him to life in prison.

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Zacarias Moussaoui's confrontation with the US justice system ended the way it began more than four years ago - with vocal defiance and professions of allegiance to Al Qaeda.

"God save Osama Bin Laden. You will never get him," Mr. Moussaoui told a jammed courtroom at his sentencing on Thursday in Alexandria, Va.

He made his comments shortly before US District Judge Leonie Brinkema sentenced him to spend the rest of his life in federal prison without the possibility of parole. He is expected to be sent to a solitary confinement cell at the so-called "Supermax" prison in Florence, Colo.

As a vehicle to uncover the truth of what actually happened in the run-up to the 9/11 terror attacks, the Moussaoui trial produced more heat than light.

Judge Brinkema, often irked by Moussaoui's regular outbursts during his sentencing trial, told him he would be locked away in a place where no one would hear him. The judge told Moussaoui that he came to the US to die as a martyr "in a great big bang of glory" - but that would not happen. "You will die with a whimper," the judge said.

The action came a day after a jury of nine men and three women declined to authorize a death sentence for Moussaoui. Instead, by default, the sentence became life in prison. The sentence came despite what at times appeared to be Moussaoui's best efforts to convince the jury that he deserved to be executed. He is the only person ever charged in the US with involvement in the 9/11 terror attacks.

Moussaoui's sentencing trial marked the first time victims have testified on both sides in a capital punishment case. Surviving family members were called by prosecutors to recount for jurors the pain and suffering the terror attacks had caused in their lives.


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