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Moussaoui makes damaging gaffe


Published: Wed, March 8, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.


ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) -- A bizarre legal misstep by confessed Al-Qaida conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui came back to haunt him Wednesday as he helped confirm for jurors at his sentencing trial that he had said Osama bin Laden ordered him to fly a plane into the White House.
Moussaoui's action emerged on a poor quality videotape shown in federal court.
The videotape showed a prosecutor, Moussaoui and a standby court-appointed defense lawyer questioning Fauzi bin Abu Bakar Bafana. He has admitted he was treasurer of a Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, cell of Jemaah Islamiyah, an Asian terrorist group linked to Al-Qaida.
Prosecutor Kenneth Karas got Bafana to describe how Jemaah Islamiyah had him provide lodging in 1999 to a visitor he knew only as John.
"He told me he had a dream to fly an airplane into the White House," Bafana said. "He told me he told his dream to the sheik and the sheik told him to go ahead." Bafana explained the sheik was Al-Qaida chief bin Laden.
Karas rested his direct questioning without having Bafana identify John as Moussaoui. But that government omission was remedied once Moussaoui cross-examined Bafana.
Moussaoui asked Bafana what John looked like.
"He looks exactly like you," Bafana replied.
Moussaoui: "Looks like me or are you certain it's me?"
Bafana: "Certain."
Scrambling to recover, Moussaoui dug himself deeper.
"Maybe somebody looks exactly like me," Moussaoui offered.
"I confirm that it's you," Bafana replied.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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