ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) -- Zacarias Moussaoui has vowed to plead guilty at his arraignment, but a judge is considering a postponement sought by court-appointed lawyers who assert the accused Sept. 11 conspirator is mentally ill.
U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema told Moussaoui last week to return to court Thursday and decide whether he still wanted to plead guilty to a terrorism conspiracy.
"Bet on me I will," said the unpredictable Moussaoui, who is representing himself and won't communicate with the lawyers who filed the postponement request.
If Brinkema allows Moussaoui to proceed, she would question him closely to ensure that he pleads guilty to the conduct in the indictment. He's accused of conspiring with the Sept. 11 hijackers to commit terrorism.
Moussaoui last week admitted he was a member of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network but in the past has denied aiding the hijackers. Brinkema told him he could not plead guilty by denying his personal role.
The only individual charged in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks, Moussaoui said he had information about the conspiracy that he believed would save his life in a penalty phase of the case. The Bush administration has said it would seek his execution if Moussaoui is found guilty.
Frank Dunham Jr., the lead defense lawyer, said Wednesday that a report from defense mental health experts reinforced their earlier view of Moussaoui's illness.
Dunham said the experts need more time to determine whether Moussaoui is legally competent to proceed.
Moussaoui was in federal custody on immigration violations Sept. 11, but government officials believe he may have planned to be the 20th hijacker.
Brinkema last month ruled that Moussaoui was competent to represent himself. He has since filed more than 100 bizarre, handwritten motions. Among other accusations, Moussaoui contended the FBI allowed the attacks to occur so the United States could attack the Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.
The judge this month left the door open to reconsidering her decision on Moussaoui's competency.
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