After a lengthy trial in which he openly admitted his guilt and mocked the pain of the September 11 victims, and yet was still spared the death penalty, Zacarias Moussaoui now wants to withdraw his guilty plea. In a motion released this week, he said that his claim that he was supposed to have helped hijack a fifth plane on September 11th was a "complete fabrication," and that he testified as he did because he thought he would be sentenced to death no matter what he said. Having discovered, however, that he could "receive a fair trial even with Americans as jurors," he now wants to try again, hoping for a complete acquittal this time.
Sure, we did have so much fun the first time around, it seems like a shame to not do the whole thing again, but sadly that’s not the way it works. The judge denied Moussaoui’s request, pointing out that he had waived the right to withdraw the plea or to appeal the conviction itself, as was explained to him at the time of his plea.
The most plausible argument he apparently made is that he somehow thought that, if he pleaded guilty, the Supreme Court would immediately review his objections to the denial of access to captured "enemy-combatant" witnesses. Not sure how that explains gloating over the many deaths, though. That wouldn’t seem likely to speed along the review process. Maybe he is just a nutbag. Anyway, according to the motion, Moussaoui told his lawyers Friday that he wanted to withdraw his guilty plea because when he made it his "understanding of the American legal system was completely flawed." That at least is believable.