Defending a 9/11 Terrorist

By: Mark Tenia Email
By: Mark Tenia Email

January 29, 2008

It's been almost three years since Zacarias Moussaoui was convicted for his connection to the attacks on 9-11. Friday the lawyer that defended one of the most hated men in America spoke at a forum at UVa's Miller Center.

"It's an important part of our legal system that defense lawyers stand up and defend people even with the worst kinds of crimes," said Moussaoui's defense attorney Edward MacMahon, Jr..

MacMahon is currently representing another 9/11 terrorist suspect. He says that despite the hatred many feel toward these men, most Americans understand and respect our legal system.

"One thing that I've taken from these cases is that the American people have a tremendous respect for the rule of law," said MacMahon.

Even those related to the victims of the terrorist attacks.

"The family members, they have told me that they wish the client, the clients be executed. Some say they don't want them executed but all of them are civil and respectful and understand that we're filling our role in the system," said MacMahon.

As for his clients, MacMahon says none of them welcome his help.

"They all share in common this Jihadi frame of mind that has us as our enemy and you just have to deal with that," said MacMahon.

And regardless of the terrorists' wish to die as martyrs, and the desire of prosecutors to see them executed, MacMahon says upholding our justice system is more important.

"You have an obligation to the court, you have an obligation to the jury and you just can't be sidelined by taunts, and accusations, false accusations by your client and you just gotta push through it," said MacMahon.

Showing the world that we can even respect those that don't respect us.

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