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Entries in Northwest Flight 253 (4)

Wednesday
Oct122011

Christmas Day Underwear Bomber to Plead Guilty

U.S. Marshals Service via Getty Images(DETROIT) -- Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian man suspected of trying to detonate a bomb hidden in his underwear while aboard a Detroit-bound flight on Christmas Day 2009, will plead guilty Wednesday to all the charges against him, ABC News has learned.

Abdulmutallab is charged with attempted murder, attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, willfully attempting to destroy an aircraft, placing a destructive device in proximity to an aircraft, and conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism.

Had he been successful, the 24-year-old dubbed the "Underwear Bomber," could have killed the 290 passengers aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253.

Abdulmutallab could face life in prison for the attempted bombing.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct112011

Underwear Bomber Trial to Begin in Detroit

U.S. Marshals Service via Getty Images(DETROIT) -- The trial for underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab gets underway Tuesday in Detroit, where the 24-year-old Nigerian national faces charges for attempting to bomb Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day 2009 with 290 people on board.

The attempted attack left an indelible mark, exposing aviation security gaps and missed signals by U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism agencies in the post 9/11 era.  The attempted bombing has resulted in more robust and sometimes controversial passenger screenings and a ramping up of terrorist watch list efforts.

Abdulmutallab faces charges of attempted murder, attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, willfully attempting to destroy an aircraft, placing a destructive device in proximity to an aircraft, and conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism.

It is expected at trial that the jury of nine women and three men will hear how Abdulmutallab transformed from a young man living in Nigeria to a hard-core radical who traveled to Yemen and sought out members of al Qaeda to undertake terrorist attacks against the United States.

The trial is also expected to yield new information about Abdulmutallab and his connections with the recently killed cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed Sept. 30 in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen.  Al-Awlaki has been at the center of numerous U.S. terrorism cases over the past two years with terrorism suspects either visiting his website or communicating with the cleric via e-mail.

According to statements Abdulmutallab allegedly provided to FBI agents after the attempted bombing, Abdulmutallab stated that he was inspired to undertake attacks after visiting al-Awlaki’s websites.

The trial will recount the terrifying moments aboard the plane as Abdulmutallab tried to detonate the device which was allegedly crafted by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s master bomb maker Ibrahim Hassan Asiri.

Judge Nancy Edmunds has allowed the prosecutors to show the jury a video showing the destructive force a replica of Abdulmutallab’s underwear bomb could have had on the aircraft’s aluminum skin.  The government intends to call an explosives expert who will address why the device failed to detonate despite allegedly having almost 200 grams of the high-explosives Triacetone Triperoxide (TATP) and Pentaerythritol Tetranitrate (PETN).

The jury will hear from passengers that were aboard the aircraft who heard loud popping noises then smoke and fire coming from Abdulmutallab’s lap as the intended bomb smoldered and burned Abdulmutallab.  The flight attendants and passengers extinguished the flames and restrained Abdulmutallab who was detained and taken to a hospital for his burns.

Abdulmutallab, who has acted as his own attorney after he fired his initial team of defense counsel, will be able to question government expert witnesses and possibly the FBI agents who first took statements from him that he was a member of al Qaeda.

It is unclear how the accused al Qaeda member will act during the trial.  At times he has refused to rise before Judge Edmunds, he asked the judge if he could wear a traditional Yemeni dagger, a jambiya, in the courtroom during proceedings (the request was denied), and he has shouted outbursts that al-Awlaki is still alive.

Because of his unpredictable nature Abdulmutallab will also be represented by Anthony Chambers, a Detroit defense attorney who has acted as stand-by counsel to ensure Abdulmutallab receives a fair trial.

The trial is expected to last 3 to 4 weeks.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct042011

Jury Selection Begins in Trial of 'Christmas Underwear Bomber'

Comstock/Thinkstock(DETROIT) -- Jury selection will begin Tuesday in the terror trial of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab -- the Nigerian man suspected of trying to detonate a bomb hidden in his underwear while aboard a Detroit-bound flight on Christmas Day 2009.

Had he been successful, Abdulmutallab could have killed the nearly 300 passengers aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253.

The Detroit Free Press reports that out of an initial pool of 240 potential jurors, 132 remain, 40 of which will be questioned by both the prosecution and defense in Detroit on Tuesday.

The newspaper says Abdulmutallab, who's been dubbed the "Christmas Underwear Bomber," is representing himself, however, it is not yet known if he will handle the interrogation of the jurors without the help of his standby attorney.

Opening statements in Abdulmutallab's trial are slated to begin on Oct. 11.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec152010

'Underwear Bomber' in Court Thursday; DOJ Files New Indictment

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(DETROIT) -- The Justice Department has filed a superseding indictment against underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab for the attempted bombing of Northwest flight 253 on Christmas Day last year. The new charges include a conspiracy charge to commit an act of terrorism transcending a national boundary, and an additional explosives charge for possession of his explosive device.
 
According to Justice Department officials, the superseding indictment was filed to clarify the original charges, which were filed on January 6, 2010, and to prepare the case for trial.

The original charges filed against Abdulmutallab still stand and include the attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, attempted murder, the willful attempt to destroy and wreck an aircraft within the jurisdiction of the U.S., willfully placing a destructive device on an aircraft, and two counts of possession of a firearm/destructive in furtherance of a crime of violence. The new charges also carry the maximum penalty of life in prison.
 
Abdulmutallab is due to appear Thursday morning before Judge Nancy Edmunds at the U.S. District Court in Detroit for an arraignment on the superseding indictment. During one of his last court appearances, Abdulmutallab fired his defense lawyers. He currently has standby lawyers if the judge determines he needs them. In September, he expressed his interest in pleading guilty but was uncertain how the procedure worked.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 







ABC News Radio