Underwear Bomber Pleads Guilty, Ending Trial
By Margaret Cronin Fisk and Steve Raphael – Oct 12, 2011 11:26 AM ET
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab pleaded guilty to all eight charges in the attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines plane on Christmas Day 2009, in a change of plea announced today as his trial was to start its second day.
U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds in Detroit immediately swore in the Nigerian-born Abdulmutallab, telling the so-called underwear bomber he had the right to remain silent. He waived the right and admitted the charges against him, which may send him to prison for life.
The surprise announcement by Abdulmutallab and attorney Anthony Chambers, so-called standby counsel appointed to assist him, came as the day’s first witness was about to be called. Abdulmutallab planned to represent himself.
In a statement to the court, Abdulmutallab said he tried to bomb the plane as an act of retaliation against the U.S. for the “killing of my brothers and sisters in Muslim lands.”
“I intentionally carried an explosive device” onto the plane, he said. The device was concealed in his underwear. He was subdued by passengers after failing to set it off.
Asked if he was aware that his actions were against the law, he replied, “Yes, U.S. law.” He called American law unjust and oppressive according to the Koran.
Edmunds accepted his guilty pleas to all eight felony counts and set sentencing for Jan. 12. The charges include attempted murder and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. Abdulmutallab has been in custody since his arrest.
The flight from the Netherlands was carrying children, military personnel and other passengers, many coming to the U.S. for the holidays, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel told the jury in his opening statement.
The case is U.S. v. Abdulmutallab, 10-cr-20005, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan (Detroit).
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