Moussaoui Death Penalty Case May Be Tossed

It's a critical day for the government as it seeks the death penalty for accused al-Qaida conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui.

Federal Judge Leonie Brinkema is holding a hearing to determine whether to continue Moussaoui's trial or stop it. The government admits a Transportation Security Administration lawyer emailed seven upcoming witnesses. The lawyer reportedly sent them a transcript of the trial's first day and her analysis of the government's opening statement.

She wrote that the opening statement "has created a credibility gap that the defense can drive a truck through." The communication violates a ban on informing witnesses about testimony. Brinkema could bar the witnesses from testifying, declare a mistrial and start over, or grant a defense motion removing death as an option.

That would end the trial and he would get life in prison without a chance of parole.