On Dec. 6, when he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Ashcroft, in response to one question about the president's order creating a war crimes commission, explained it's designed to deal with acts of war.
Raising the specter of the inconceivable, he added, "Now, when we come to those responsible for this, say who are in Afghanistan, are we supposed to read them the Miranda rights, hire a flamboyant defense lawyer, bring them back to the United States to create a new cable network of Osama TV or what have you, provide a worldwide platform from which propaganda can be developed?"
At the press conference announcing the Moussaoui indictment, the CBS producer reminded him of that and asked, "Aren't you now going to see a very long, expensive trial, since Moussaoui will be afforded two defense lawyers since he's facing the death penalty?"
Actually, within just two days there are signs the media circus is already shaping up. Moussaoui's mom has reportedly hired a French female attorney who is said to be engaged to marry notorious terrorist Carlos the Jackal.
The French government has suggested it simply will not allow one of its nationals to face the death penalty in the U.S. And following the defendant's removal hearing in New York Thursday afternoon, ABCNEWS' Ellen Davis reports, attorney Donald duBoulay offered several rather lugubrious comments, including that the defendant is resigned to his fate and has suffered terribly during his solitary confinement.
The best, however, was that he demanded the fee Moussaoui is supposedly owed for having been a material witness — and revealed the defendant's plans to forward said fee to the orphans of Afghanistan and Chechnya.
Beverley Lumpkin has covered the Justice Department for 15 years for ABCNEWS. Halls of Justice appears every Saturday.