Accused Christmas bomber will not give trial statement

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 07, 2011 5:33 PM
Accused Christmas bomber will not give trial statement

DETROIT (Reuters) - A Nigerian man accused of trying to blow up a Detroit-bound plane on Christmas Day 2009 will not present an opening statement at his U.S. federal trial starting on Tuesday, court officials said on Friday.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 24, will allow his "stand-in" attorney, Anthony Chambers, to address the jury on his behalf, said a court spokesman.

Abdulmutallab had said he wanted to represent himself at trial. Chambers is his court-appointed adviser who has helped with pretrial motions and jury selection.

Abdulmutallab is charged with attempting to detonate explosives sewn into his underwear as Northwest Flight 253 approached Detroit from Amsterdam. He faces life in prison if convicted.

The device malfunctioned and burned Abdulmutallab's groin, who was then overpowered by other passengers. The plane landed at the Detroit airport. There were no injuries.

Al Qaeda's Yemen-based arm claimed responsibility for the failed attack, which was also praised by Osama bin Laden in 2010, months before the al Qaeda leader was killed in a U.S. commando raid in Pakistan.

Abdulmutallab had told U.S. investigators he received the bomb and training from al Qaeda militants in Yemen, U.S. officials have said. The botched attack thrust the Arab state to the forefront of U.S. security concerns.

The trial is expected to last at least a month.

(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Greg McCune)