Who Is Carla Martin and Why Is She In Trouble?

Carla Martin

Lawyer excoriated by both sides after Moussaoui trial blunder

Until Monday, Martin, 51, was a mid-career attorney working in relative obscurity at the Transportation Safety Administration. Now she's a fixture in the news.

It began with the disclosure of conduct that threatens to derail the sentencing trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person to face a U.S. jury in connection with the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Martin is accused of improperly contacting a half-dozen aviation safety witnesses in violation of a judge's order. She sent them trial transcripts by e-mail, supplemented with her observations, suggestions and talking points, according to testimony.

Martin's attorney, Roscoe Howard, defended her Thursday.

"Someone has decided they're going to throw her under the bus, and that's exactly what's happened here," Howard said Thursday in an interview with CNN. "I think there are explanations for everything." Howard said earlier in a statement that Martin has been "viciously vilified by assertions from the prosecution and various media pundits."

"Only her accusers' stories have been told; and those stories have been accepted as the whole truth. They are not," Howard's statement said.

Details here from CNN.