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Terror suspect makes court appearance

Moussaoui, second from right, appeared before a magistrate in Alexandria, Virginia, on Wednesday.  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Zacarias Moussaoui, the first person charged in direct connection with the September 11 terrorist attacks, appeared very briefly Wednesday before a U.S. magistrate in Alexandria, Virginia, where he was informed of the six conspiracy charges against him.

He is charged with conspiracy for: murder, committing acts of terrorism, committing aircraft piracy, destroying aircraft, destroying property and using weapons of mass destruction.

Moussaoui is accused of conspiring with accused terrorist Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network to "murder thousands of people" in New York, Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon -- the sites where four jets crashed after being hijacked.

Prosecutors allege that he engaged in the "same preparation for murder" as the 19 hijackers who commandeered four U.S. jets and crashed them. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

France opened Moussaoui file in '94 
Details of the 19 hijacking suspects 
FindLaw: Read the full indictment (pdf) 
Attack on America
Zacarias Moussaoui was indicted on six counts:
1) Conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism

2) Conspiracy to commit air piracy

3) Conspiracy to destroy aircraft

4) Conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction

5) Conspiracy to commit murder

6) Conspiracy to destroy property

Moussaoui was wearing a government-issued brown T-shirt and khaki pants and carried a large envelope.

There was tight security for the court appearance, which lasted about seven minutes. The judge warned Moussaoui that anything he said could be used against him and the suspect did not address the court.

Prosecutors told the court that they were seeking to deny Moussaoui any bail, and the court-appointed public defenders representing him said they were not ready to discuss the issue of bail because they have not had a chance to meet with their client.

Moussaoui met with his team of three attorneys after the court hearing. One of them, Frank W. Dunham Jr., a federal public defender, released a statement to reporters, saying the attorneys would not respond to any questions about the case.

Moussaoui was arrested in Minnesota on immigration charges a month before the attacks after he aroused suspicion by trying to buy time on a jumbo jet flight simulator at a flight school.

After the September 11 attacks, Moussaoui was held as a material witness and sent to New York to be questioned.

The 33-year-old French citizen of Moroccan descent was transferred Wednesday from New York "to a secure location in Virginia" to await his next court appearance, the U.S. Marshals Service said.

Moussaoui was accompanied by marshals from La Guardia Airport in New York to Washington's Reagan National Airport and to Virginia. He is scheduled to be arraigned in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, on January 2 on the six conspiracy counts in connection with the attacks.

Marshals would not say where Moussaoui was held before the court appearance.

U.S. officials said much of the information that led to Moussaoui's arrest was provided by French intelligence officials.

The French government has said it will object to exposing Moussaoui to the death penalty, but French officials conceded there is little they can do but object.



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