ALEXANDRIA, Va., AP -For a man who almost never speaks in court, al-Qaida conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui has managed to convey many emotions — particularly the day testimony and photos about 9/11 terror victims overcame many in the room.
Moussaoui smiled at descriptions of his lack of remorse, sang and taunted Americans as he left court, and affected a lack of interest in video of bodies falling from the World Trade Center towers. But he appeared as transfixed as the rest of the courtroom when former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani described a young girl whose firefighter father died a hero on Sept. 11, 2001, months before her birth.
When the second phase of his sentencing trial opened Thursday, the bearded 37-year-old Frenchman of Moroccan descent seemed almost cocky — particularly for a man facing a jury that will decide whether he is executed or imprisoned for life.
He smiled when prosecutor Rob Spencer reminded jurors that he has displayed no remorse and testified that he was “grateful” to be included in al-Qaida’s 9/11 conspiracy.
When prosecutors began showing videos of the hijacked jets hitting the gleaming towers of the World Trade Center, Moussaoui smiled. As more angles were shown, he stopped watching and took a few notes.
When prosecutors showed video of people who were trapped on the upper floors and jumped more than 80 stories to their deaths, Moussaoui affected an air of boredom, swaying his head from side to side and rolling his eyes.
Garbed in a green prison jumpsuit and white knit cap, Moussaoui sits alone at a small table by the wall opposite the jury — apart from the court-appointed defense lawyers he despises.
U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema has made clear that outbursts like those for which he became famous during four years of pretrial maneuvering will get him banished to a jail cell with a closed-circuit TV view of the trial.
So he has behaved when the court is in session.
But when there is a recess, the marshals keep him in place until the judge and jury have left. Invariably during his three strides to the door on leaving, Moussaoui has offered a clipped commentary on events. At first they were muttered, then spoken aloud, later shouted.
Midday Thursday after the crash videos, he left singing “Burn in the U.S.A.” to the tune of “Born in the U.S.A.,” by Bruce Springsteen, one of his favorite singers as a teenager growing up in France.
But the emotion-laden testimony about victims changed even Moussaoui’s mood.
Near the end of two hours of testimony, Giuliani’s voice began to quake and break as he discussed his longtime aide, Beth Petrone Hatton, and her firefighter husband, Terence Hatton, a genuine hero of the New York Fire Department who led one of its elite rescue units and had earned 19 medals in 21 years.
Giuliani described the “great joy and sadness” he felt when Beth Hatton telephoned him — five to 10 days after Terence was killed rescuing people from the trade center — with word that she was pregnant.
A photo of Giuliani with the Hattons’ daughter, Terry, born May 15, 2002, was shown as he testified: “Terry’s going to grow up without a father … without a very special father.”
Like everyone else in the courtroom, Moussaoui couldn’t take his eyes off Giuliani.
He was equally attentive the rest of the afternoon as witnesses described other children who lost parents on 9/ll. His expression conveyed interest, but hid any other emotions he might have felt.
Leaving court at day’s end, he said, “No pain, no gain, America.”