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Briefs (right)

Moussaoui Ejected Four Times
For Disrupting Jury Selection

By Neil A. Lewis

Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person to be put on trial in the United States for involvement in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was ejected from a federal courtroom on Monday at the start of the jury selection process because of an outburst in which he shouted “I am al-Qaida.”

The day’s proceedings were divided to accommodate four groups of potential jurors, and so the scene of him being disruptive was repeated three more times, resulting in four expulsions.

When he was first escorted into the federal courtroom in Alexandria, Va., Moussaoui first slowly panned the spectators’ section to look at the pool of people from which a jury will be selected. Because he has already pleaded guilty to six felony counts of conspiracy in connection with the attacks, the only question for the jury is whether he should be executed by lethal injection or remain in jail for the rest of his life.

Judge Leonie M. Brinkema told the prospective jurors that they faced “an awesome responsibility not to be taken lightly.” But before Brinkema began speaking to the jurors about the case, she told federal marshals to escort Moussaoui out of the courtroom after he disrupted the proceedings.

After having gazed intently at the jury pool, Moussaoui took his place in the center of the courtroom and then declared loudly: “I won’t be heard by this court.” He also gestured to the lawyers appointed by the court to represent him and said, “These lawyers are not my lawyers” and that he did not want to be represented by them.

GM Board Seats Kerkorian’s Man

By Micheline Maynard

Opening its doors to a high-profile critic, General Motors Corp. gave a seat on its board on Monday to Jerome B. York, an adviser to GM’s biggest individual investor, the billionaire Kirk Kerkorian.

GM also said that E. Stanley O’Neal, the chief executive at Merrill Lynch, had resigned as a GM director.

But despite market speculation, GM did not announce any action on its dividend, which York has urged the company to cut in half. GM has paid investors $2 a share since 1997.

The seat for York, which becomes his on Tuesday, was granted less than a month after he issued a blunt series of suggestions for fixing GM. The automaker reported an $8.6 billion loss last year, its biggest since 1992.

In November, GM said it would cut 30,000 jobs and close all or part of 12 plants through 2008. It also aims to reduce its costs by $7 billion a year, including spending on auto parts, or about one-sixth of its expenses.

York, in a speech on Jan. 10, urged GM to do more. He recommended dumping divisions like Saab and Hummer so that it could focus on core brands like Chevrolet and Cadillac. And York also called on GM’s directors, executives and employees to take significant pay cuts.