NBC News and news services
updated 5/2/2006 4:47:52 PM ET 2006-05-02T20:47:52

Jurors deciding the fate of Zacarias Moussaoui wrapped up their sixth day of deliberations Tuesday without reaching a verdict.

A note sent Monday by jurors suggests they may not be any closer than last week to deciding whether the Sept. 11 conspirator deserves to die.

Several jurors told the judge about events coming up later in the week that they want to attend.

Jurors can set their own schedule, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema said.

One juror has requested permission to travel to a wedding anniversary on Friday. The daughter of another juror is being inducted into the National Junior Honor Society on Thursday.

Based on their requests, jurors have set a schedule for the remainder of the week that includes afternoon deliberations Tuesday and Wednesday, a half-day on Thursday and no deliberations on Friday.

Jurors have now spent 35 hours in deliberations.

“Don't assume from this (schedule) that the jury will necessarily go to Friday,” Brinkema said in a conference call with lawyers. “I don't know why they sent this to us this early in the week, but, you know, obviously, they’re trying to, I guess, make certain they’re organized for the week.”

Juror’s identity known?
Meanwhile, court transcripts unsealed Tuesday show a juror was worried earlier this month that her identity had become public, according to NBC News’ Pete Williams.

Not wanting to be bothered by reporters, the juror told Brinkema on April 17 that she had been approached by a co-worker who said it was clear she was on the jury based on information about the jurors posted on the Internet.

Brinkema concluded the co-worker simply deducted the woman was a juror because her absences from work corresponded with when the trial was in session, Williams reported.

The jurors are working their way through a 42-page verdict form that will guide their decision on whether Moussaoui should receive life or death.

The jury began meeting a week ago, and continued for nearly 28 hours over four and a half days, ending Monday’s session just after 4 p.m. ET. The jury did not deliberate Thursday because a juror called in sick.

Other transcripts opened Tuesday reveal Brinkema forced the government to cut material from its presentation to the jury about Sept. 11’s impact, NBC reported. Certain references in the transcript accompanying the Flight 93 cockpit voice recorder were removed, such as “struggle with female,” which corresponded to noises on the tape.

“There’s no way of absolutely guaranteeing that that’s what’s going on,” Brinkema said.

She also ordered the government to exclude material from an audiotape of calls from people trapped in the World Trade Center, according to NBC’s Williams, including one that apparently recorded one person taking final breaths.

“That would have been overwhelmingly prejudicial,” Brinkema said.

Dictionary flap
So far, the jury has asked only one question, requesting a dictionary. Brinkema denied the request, saying it would be equivalent to placing extraneous evidence in the jury room. She also warned jurors against conducting their own research, including looking up words.

Nevertheless, deliberations were halted briefly Friday after one of the jurors said he had looked up the definition of “aggravating” in Webster’s dictionary. The juror was questioned in a closed hearing about his conduct, but Brinkema said she was satisfied that no real harm resulted.

She did warn the jury as a whole in an open hearing about conducting independent research. She also provided a basic legal definition of “aggravating factors” and a dictionary definition of “aggravating.”

The verdict form requires the jury to balance aggravating factors — those that support the death penalty, such as acting with premeditation — against mitigating factors that support a life sentence, such as evidence of mental illness.

The 37-year-old Frenchman is the only person in this country charged in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. He pleaded guilty in April 2005.

This jury previously found Moussaoui eligible for execution after more than 16 hours of deliberations. Although he was in jail on immigration violations on Sept. 11, the jury ruled that lies he told federal agents the month before the attacks kept them from identifying and stopping some of the hijackers.

NBC News’ justice correspondent Pete Williams contributed to this report.


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