Trial starts in Detroit in airline attack case

Oct 11 2011 - 7:34am

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(JERRY LEMENU/The Associated Press) In this courtroom drawing, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab appears in U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds’ courtroom in Detroit, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011. Jury selection in the trial of the Nigerian man accused of trying to bring down a jetliner with a bomb in his underwear got under way in Detroit with a dozen people accepted into the jury pool and four excused. The government alleges Abdulmutallab says he wanted to become a martyr when he boarded Northwest Airlines Flight 253 in Amsterdam on Christmas 2009.
(JERRY LEMENU/The Associated Press) In this courtroom drawing, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab appears in U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds’ courtroom in Detroit, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011. Jury selection in the trial of the Nigerian man accused of trying to bring down a jetliner with a bomb in his underwear got under way in Detroit with a dozen people accepted into the jury pool and four excused. The government alleges Abdulmutallab says he wanted to become a martyr when he boarded Northwest Airlines Flight 253 in Amsterdam on Christmas 2009.

DETROIT -- The man accused of trying to destroy an airliner on behalf of al-Qaida has entered a Detroit courtroom for the first day of trial.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (OO'-mahr fah-ROOK' ahb-DOOL'-moo-TAH'-lahb) said nothing Tuesday as he settled into his seat next to defense attorney Anthony Chambers. He faces life in prison if convicted of trying to bring down an Amsterdam-to-Detroit plane with a bomb in his underwear on Christmas 2009.

Federal Judge Nancy Edmunds asked a Detroit-area attorney to leave the courtroom before opening statements were to begin because he could be called as a witness for Abdulmutallab. Kurt Haskell was a passenger on Northwest Airlines Flight 253.

The judge also denied a defense request to prevent prosecutors from using the word "bomb." She then called a brief recess.

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