I am al-Qa'ida, defiant Moussaoui tells court

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The Independent US

The uproar began at the start of proceedings in Alexandria, Virginia, when Moussaoui demanded of the judge that he be allowed to speak, saying that his lawyers did not represent him. "This trial is a circus," he shouted, before federal marshals led him out.

Shortly afterwards the first group of prospective jurors began to answer questions about their religious beliefs, their feelings about Muslims and Arabs, their reaction to the 11 September 2001 attacks, and their attitude to the death penalty.

Jury selection will take up to a month before the start of the sentencing trial on 6 March.

Moussaoui, a 37-year-old Frenchman of Moroccan descent, has admitted six counts of conspiracy, acknowledging that he came to the US to take part in al-Qa'ida operations. But he denies specific prior knowledge of the 9/11 suicide attacks on New York and Washington, in which 3,000 people died.