Federal prosecutors have asked a judge to temporarily halt preparations for the June terrorism trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called “20th hijacker” in the Sept. 11 plot. The Justice Department wants time to challenge a court order that would let defense lawyers interview Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a captured al Qaida leader who has confessed to coordinating the attacks. Bin al-Shibh allegedly wired Moussaoui $14,000, but defense lawyers hope bin al-Shibh will support their claim that Moussaoui had nothing to do with the conspiracy. Bush administration officials say providing access to bin al-Shibh would disrupt his interrogation by intelligence agents, setting back the hunt for terrorists. To avoid that, administration officials are reportedly considering moving the trial from civilian criminal court to a military tribunal, where Moussaoui would have fewer rights.
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