March 17, 2006
Moussaoui Case - Shocking Allegation
In Salvaging Death From Life, we discussed the insane decision by Clinton-appointed Judge Leonie Brinkema to throw out the better half of the prosecution's case for the death penalty against Zacarias Moussaoui, on the grounds that a lawyer working for the Transportation Security Agency (TSA), Carla Martin, sent several FAA witnesses a transcript of the opening statements and the direct and/or cross examination of an FBI agent.
Now comes the rather shocking allegation that the entire transaction was a deliberate set-up whose purpose was to destroy the prosecutor's case.
As near as Big Lizards can figure out the agendas, here is what the AP story seems to say....
- The allegation comes from Robert Clifford and Gregory Joseph, lawyers for family members of victims of the 9/11 attack. The lawsuit filed by the family members claim that United Airlines and American Airlines could have prevented 9/11 by stopping the hijackers from getting on the planes with knives and boxcutters.
- The government also wants to prove that: if they can show that 9/11 could have been prevented if Moussaoui had told them about the knives and boxcutters, then Moussaoui should be put to death.
- Contrariwise, the lawyers for the airlines clearly want for their jury to believe that 9/11 could not possibly have been prevented; that it would have happened the way it did regardless of any attempt to prevent boxcutters from being carried onto the planes. That way, it wouldn't be the airlines' fault.
- And of course, Moussaoui's lawyers would also like to prove that, since then their client's lies would not have led to any deaths that wouldn't have occured otherwise. It wouldn't be Moussaoui's fault, either.
So the plaintiff's lawyers and the prosecutors both want to show that 9/11 could have been prevented; and the defense lawyers in both cases want to prove that it could not have been prevented.
According to the allegation, the airline lawyers read the prosecutor's opening statement and became very worried. If the prosecution proved its case, it would be very hard for the airlines to evade a judgment. So allegedly, the airline lawyers contacted Carla Martin of the TSA and told her to queer the case: she had to get the FAA witnesses to change their stories and say that no FAA order would have stopped any of the hijackers:
Because that government position could have "devastating" impact on the airlines' defense in the civil suit, American Airlines' lawyer forwarded the transcript to a United Airlines lawyer who forwarded it to Martin, Clifford and Joseph wrote. As proof, they cited March 7 e-mails that they provided to [U.S. District Judge Alvin] Hellerstein but which were not immediately available here. [Hellerstein is the judge hearing the civil case. -- the Mgt.]
"The TSA lawyer then forwarded the transcripts and sent multiple e-mails to government witnesses in a clear effort to shape their testimony in a manner that would be beneficial to the aviation defendants" in the civil suit, they wrote. [As we understand it, to shape the testimony to make it seem as if 9/11 could not have been prevented, which would also help Moussaoui's defense. -- the Mgt]
They then quoted a March 8 e-mail Martin sent to one of the government's Moussaoui witnesses that said:
"My friends Jeff Ellis and Chris Christenson, NY lawyers rep. UAL and AAL respectively in the 9/11 civil litigation, all of us aviation lawyers, were stunned by the opening. The opening has created a credibility gap that the defense can drive a truck through. There is no way anyone could say that the carriers could have prevented all short-bladed knives from going through. (Prosecutor) Dave (Novak) MUST elicit that from you and the airline witnesses on direct."
In other words, Martin's actions were a direct assault on the prosecution's case -- she intended to help the airlines -- hence Moussaoui -- and not the government.
Yet even so, when she was caught red-handed, Judge Brinkema's response was to finish what Carla Martin started: Brinkema's order destroys the government's case, prevents Moussaoui from receiving the death penalty, and incidentally helps the airlines defend against the lawsuit. At least, that is what the plaintiffs' attorneys claim.
Through her attorney, Martin denies the allegation; but she has not yet appeared to speak on her own behalf, nor has her attorney yet had a chance to formulate a response. The first question, of course, is whether there was any pre-existing relationship between the airlines and the TSA, or some personal or monetary arrangement between their respective attorneys, which was so deep that Martin would risk disbarment or even prison (for witness tampering), just to help the airlines out in their civil lawsuit. If such a connection emerges, then clearly, Brinkema's order should not stand.
In fact, if this is true, then there should be a mistrial: the penalty phase for Moussaoui should be moved to a different judge (preferably in a different venue) and retried... because clearly, the people of the United States were sandbagged, if this allegation is even partially accurate.
Nobody alleges that Brinkema was part of this scheme; but her obvious bias against the prosecution led her to blame the government for a set-up that seems to have been aimed squarely at destroying the prosecution's case.
If this is true, it's damned if you do, damned if you don't: if the scheme had succeeded, maybe they could have gotten the witnesses to destroy the government's case (if the witnesses were willing to commit perjury, which I doubt). But when it failed -- that, too, was used to destroy the government's case!
Again, bear in mind: these are allegations from an interested party in the case: the lawyers for the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the airlines. They may be wrong, and Carla Martin may have had no contact with the airline attorneys. But it's hard to believe lawyers would make false allegations (and what, fake the e-mails?), when the deception would be revealed immediately -- and would destroy their own careers, if they were found to be misleading the court (either court). Unless some major contrary evidence is produced, I'm inclined to believe this charge.
If the judge does not reverse herself, especially in light of the new allegations, then I sure hope the prosecutors appeal up the chain, all the way to the Supreme Court, if they will take it: the death penalty for Moussaoui should not be held hostage to the understandable desire of United and American not to have to pay a huge judgment to survivors of the victims of 9/11.
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, March 17, 2006, at the time of 12:27 AM
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The following hissed in response by: MTF
Fox reported this morning that since this trial is the penalty phase, and Moussaoui is already proven guilty, there is no reason the government can't try this phase all over again. Martin's actions have not permenantly ended the government's quest for the death penalty, not at all.
The following hissed in response by: Patterico
Occam's Razor: she was protecting her client.
The above hissed in response by: Patterico at March 17, 2006 8:57 AM
The following hissed in response by: Rovin
American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct
Rule 4.2 Communication with Person Represented by Counsel
In representing a client, a lawyer shall not communicate about the subject of the representation with a party the lawyer knows to be represented by another lawyer in the matter, unless the lawyer has the consent of the other lawyer or is authorized to do so by law or a court order.
Rookie research that may or not be relevant.
But I do like Isaac Newtons interpetation of Occam's Razor:
"We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances."
The above hissed in response by: Rovin at March 17, 2006 9:46 AM
The following hissed in response by: keller
Just heard on the radio that other witnesses from that administration may be called to testify.
The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh
Occam's Razor: she was protecting her client.
I believe her clients were, in fact, the FAA witnesses... so I don't see how her actions could have been benefitting them. Do you know more about this? Have you heard anything?
If there are e-mails from the airline attorneys to Carla Martin telling her to do this (as the plaintiffs' attorneys claim, and as they appear to have given to Judge Hellerstein), I don't see any way out for her: those e-mails, if they are true, certainly suggest an inappropriate relationship of some sort between Martin and the attorneys of other entities.
The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh at March 17, 2006 1:06 PM
The following hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist
It is a sane World...
Women in America basically complain that American Men/men are abusive overpaid bums, at best...so to speak of such sanity and Zahida in the same breath.
The Sane World *BAFFLES* the Insane...so to speak.
My thirteenth Wive was a devout Communist from Cuba, who was a natural Capitalist. What a Woman!!! Anyway, Mabelin claimed that "marriage was a business" for American Women/women here in America...long story, but *WHAT* a Woman!!!
One never remarries after meeting such a Woman.
American Women/women get a choice on getting pregnant...then, are given the choice as to whether that embryo lives are dies. If the Woman/woman chooses life for the embryo, then she can make the male pay for a long time. That same male is given no choice if the female chooses to kill the embryo.
The Sane World *BAFFLES* the Insane...so to speak.
Personally, humble Low and Ignorant Insane swamp hermit me sees nothing "Shocking" in this Moussaoui "Case"...so to speak of what i expected.
However, i do find this almost "Shocking":
The sane world shuns me...i am Blessed at Last!!!
The above hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist at March 17, 2006 4:50 PM
The following hissed in response by: Redhand
The first question, of course, is whether there was any pre-existing relationship between the airlines and the TSA, or some personal or monetary arrangement between their respective attorneys, which was so deep that Martin would risk disbarment or even prison (for witness tampering), just to help the airlines out in their civil lawsuit.
In a perverse way, it's actually SOP. The regulators always become the regulated in our system, eventually.
The following hissed in response by: MD
1. "Again, bear in mind: these are allegations from an interested party in the case: the lawyers for the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the airlines. They may be wrong, and Carla Martin may have had no contact with the airline attorneys."
But the March 8 Martin e-mail reveals that Martin knew the reaction of the Airline attorneys to the opening. How would she know that reaction without some kind of contact?
"Occam's Razor: she was protecting her client."
But who was her client, the USA, the DOJ, the FAA, the TSA, or the individual witnesses? Apparently, her employer is the TSA, but this is not necessarily determinative of who she actually represented.
In any case, if her client was the TSA, the TSA is not a party to the Maussouai case, and wouldn't be bound by its judgment. I don't know if the TSA is a party to the same civil litigation in which United and American are parties; probably so, and that's how Martin came to know the Airline attorneys in NY. They had probably already colloborated to some extent on a defense in the civil case, and their position would have been the same: neither the Airlines nor the TSA could have prevented the boxcutters entering the airplanes on 9-11. This hardly answers the question, however, of whether the Airlines and/or the TSA could have prevented the hijackers themselves, or some of them, from boarding the planes on 9-11.
The following hissed in response by: James c
Interesting as all these fact filled comments are, here are a couple not mentioned. Carla Martin was not a back office attorney. She was part of the team that worked an the Lockerbie air disaster case and she was instrumental in prosecuting Richard Reid,aka the Shoe Bomber. What is most likely is that the true facts of the case will come out when Ms. Martin tells her side of the story, then you will see some rats running for their holes!
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