A French lawyer advising the family of Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person charged in the United States over the Sept. 11 attacks, said on Sunday they still hoped he would avoid the death penalty.
Moussaoui, 36, a French citizen of Moroccan descent, told a U.S. court in Alexandria, Virginia, last Friday that he had been handpicked by al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden to fly a plane into the White House.
He pleaded guilty to six counts charging him with conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism, commit aircraft piracy, destroy aircraft, use weapons of mass destruction, murder U.S. employees and destroy property. Four charges carry the death penalty.
"We do not support Zacarias Moussaoui's decision to plead guilty, as he did in the United States last week in the first phase of his trial," French lawyer Francois Roux told Reuters.
Roux is recognized by U.S. authorities as a representative of Moussaoui's mother, and helped her negotiate regular contact with her son during his imprisonment.
He went to the United States to advise Moussaoui at the start of the affair, but is unable to act as a lawyer there.
"For the second phase -- the sentencing phase -- we will fight with everything we've got for our client, trying to make him go back on his position," Roux said.
"It is clear that if he won't go back on his choice it will be a handicap for us in presenting his defense. But nothing is hopeless," he said.
Moussaoui pleaded guilty against the advice of his lawyers, who have said he is not mentally competent to enter the plea. It is not clear if Moussaoui recognizes Roux as one of his lawyers.