Verdict reached in phase one of Moussaoui trial

That’s the headline up at Yahoo News – citing CNN. No direct link to the CNN story just yet.

MSNBC is reporting that the verdict will be announced at 4 PM ET.

More: CNN page: ‘The Zacarias Moussaoui jury has reached a verdict — due to be returned at 4 pm. ET — on whether he is eligible for the death penalty.’

So this isn’t the verdict on whether or not he’s guilty but whether or not the death penalty can be sought by prosecutors? I guess I shall wait for the full story …

Update I: The AP has up a brief story:

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Jurors in the death-penalty trial of Zacarias Moussaoui reached a verdict Monday on whether the confessed al-Qaida terror conspirator is eligible for execution.

The jury began weighing Moussaoui’s fate last Wednesday and the verdict was being announced later Monday.

During its deliberations, the jury has asked only one question, seeking a definition of “weapon of mass destruction.” One of the three convictions for which Moussaoui could be executed is conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction.

The jurors were told that a plane used as a missile — the tactic employed on Sept. 11, 2001 — qualifies as a weapon of mass destruction.

Update II: The AP has expanded and re-written the above story which now contains more information:

The verdict on Moussaoui, the only person to face charges in the U.S. in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks, was being announced at 4 p.m. Monday, according to the court’s Web site.

This first phase of the trial only determines Moussaoui’s eligibility for the death penalty.

If jurors find he is eligible, it moves into a second phase to determine whether he deserves the death penalty. Victims of sept. 11, 2001 and their families will testify in this second phase.

If they find he is ineligible, he will automatically be sentenced to life in prison.

Update III, via CNN: ‘Zacarias Moussaoui is eligible for the death penalty, a jury decides in the first U.S. trial about the 9/11 attacks.’

Update IV: In the Bullpen has a must-read analysis of the verdict. (Hat tip: Stop The ACLU)

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