Muhammad Trial

Transcript: Opening Statement of John Allen Muhammad

Tuesday, October 21, 2003; 12:00 AM

The following is the transcript of the opening statement by John Allen Muhammad at his trial on Oct. 20. This is from a preliminary transcript of court proceedings compiled by court reporters Ronald Graham and Associates.

MR. MUHAMMAD: Good evening. I would like to thank the judge for giving me the opportunity to speak. I want to talk to you briefly -- excuse me -- on some things that they talked about.

One of the things that we are here for today and the next couple days is to find out what everyone wants to know is what happened. Something happened. We have his side, and we have my side. If both of us -- one picture and come up with two different stories. Something is wrong. Somebody is not telling the truth. Somebody's lying. I got sworn in. I'm sure they got sworn in, and everyone that gets up on the stand gets sworn in. We are all going to get sworn in. We are going to ask to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

One of the things I like -- I like reading and learning about words. One of the things I was fascinated in coming into this strange world to me is three truths. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I always thought it was just the truth. Apparently I was wrong, so I did some checking to find out what is it about these three truths? Same thing but yet they are different.

Well, the whole truth. What is the whole truth? The whole truth, what I found out when I asked that is, Don't take anything away from the truth, which means when we take something away from it, it's not a whole anymore. If we do that, that's a lie. If we do that, we are deceiving. What's nothing but the truth? Well, that means you don't add nothing to the truth. If we do that, we deceiving. We are telling a lie, so this is why it's important that we tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But how do we jump from the truth to the whole truth to nothing but the truth when at one time all we had was the truth? Jesus said, "You shall know the truth." He didn't say you shall know the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The truth. For what happened between that time and this time to where we got to deal with three truths?

Well, I found out as man evolved with wisdom and understanding, we also evolved with deceitfulness in our lives. It seems we found out how to tell the truth with a lie, and upon upholding the standard of telling the truth, you could be prosecuted for lying. He was still telling the truth, so what he did as we evolved in understanding things, the scientists or the wise people at that time realized this person's lying. Yet they're telling the truth.

Now, how can that be so? Well, let me give you an example. It's kind of like this. If I say I don't like basketball, that's my opinion. I don't like basketball. But if someone else come along and say, I like basketball, then in actuality what he just said is what I said, but it's not the whole truth of what I said. He left something out. Therefore, it cannot be considered the truth. It's a lie.

So we continue to tell these stories and continue to tell these stories to where we have to come up with the three truths -- the whole truth and nothing but the truth; and now that's where we are right now, which means if a person gets up on that stand and don't respect all three truths, then they can be prosecuted for telling a lie; and upon the law they can get up on the stand and lie and still tell the truth and not be prosecuted. That's why they changed it. Just the facts that we need. The facts should help us to identify what's the truth and what's not the truth and what is a lie and what's not a lie.

Okay. In knowing what our wisdom and our understanding, as we evolve, we knew how to manipulate things. Put something here that shouldn't be there, put something here that shouldn't be there, and became more and more confusing, and now we have science and a whole lot of other more things into it to prove that is the truth or to disprove that is the truth, and it became more and more confusing.

I heard him talk about his family. Anytime I deal with anything, I always reflect back on my children, whom I love very much; and I remember an incident when I was in the Caribbean; and my favorite daughter, Taalibah -- she loves chocolate. She loves chocolate cookies. As I was leaving, she said, "Daddy, can I have some chocolate cookies?" and I said, "Sure. I come back, we'll go to the store, and we'll get some chocolate cookies, but don't go in the cookie jar and get no chocolate cookies until I come back." She said, "I won't, Daddy. I won't."

So I leave. I come back about an hour later. I see my baby daughter out in the yard with cookies in her hands and eating chocolate cookies.

I am upset now because from what I see, she disobeyed. I got the evidence in her hand. I got her eating cookies. I even got her sister saying she saw her going in the cookie jar; so I'm very upset now because my baby daughter have lied to me. That's what I am thinking, . . . and she starts hiding the cookies. That is more proof. She is being deceiving now, so I tell her I want to see her in the house.

CONTINUED     1                 >

© 2003 The Washington Post Company