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United States v. Moussaoui

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
365 F.3d 292 (2004)


Facts

Zacarias Moussaoui (defendant) was indicted for crimes related to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Thereafter, a witness (Witness), a suspected member of al Qaeda, whose full name was redacted, was captured by the United States. Moussaoui filed a motion to gain access to Witness, arguing that Witness’s testimony would be an integral part of Moussaoui’s defense. Moussaoui also moved for access to two additional witnesses in U.S. custody. The government denied those requests. The district court found that the requested witnesses were material witnesses who could support Moussaoui’s defense, and the court ordered their deposition by remote video. The government appealed, and the court of appeals remanded for the district court to decide whether there was any adequate substitution for the depositions. The district court rejected the government’s proposed substitutions and reordered the depositions. The government refused to comply with the order, and as a result, the district court dismissed the indictment and prohibited the government from offering any evidence to suggest that Moussaoui was involved with the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The government again appealed, arguing that the orders to depose violated the separation of powers doctrine by encroaching on the executive’s war-making authority.

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Holding and Reasoning (Wilkins, J.)

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Concurrence/Dissent (Williams, J)

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