The trial of Farouk Abdulmutallab accused of trying to blow up a commercial airliner on Christmas Day in 2009, abruptly ended yesterday as he pleaded guilty to each of the eight counts against him.
The sudden reversal came before the start of the second day of proceedings in the trial of Mr. Abdulmutallab, who is not a lawyer but who was representing himself.
The eight counts include attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and conspiring to commit an act of terrorism. The charges carried a penalty of life in prison, but the details of the plea were not immediately available.
On the opening day of the trial on
Tuesday, Jonathan Tukel, an assistant United States attorney, described the outlines of the government’s case against Mr. Abdulmutallab, 24, in a lengthy opening statement. But a lawyer assigned to assist Mr. Abdulmutallab told jurors that the defense did not intend to give an opening statement.
Mr. Tukel told jurors that Mr.
Abdulmutallab. had admitted to a fellow passenger that he had been trying to ignite an explosive device aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253, en route from Amsterdam to Detroit, and that Mr. Abdulmutallab had made similar admissions to a paramedic and a federal agent, who Mr. Abdulmutallab told, “I’m with Al Qaeda.” Before his sudden plea, Mr. Abdulmutallab gave few clues as to how he would defend himself against the charges except to make clear that he had intended to call a passenger from among the 290 who were on board.
In court on Tuesday, Mr. Abdulmutallab, well-educated and from a well-to-do Nigerian family, said little. He wore a colorful tunic, and grasped his hands before him and flipped through papers during much of the proceedings.
For their part, prosecutors laid out a case that appeared to be some cross between an ordinary lineup of witnesses to a crime and a rare
courtroom primer in terrorism, Al
Qaeda, jihad and martyrdom. Mr. Tukel told jurors that Mr. Abdulmutallab, while still in school, had begun to listen to the tape-recorded messages of Anwar al-Awlaki, the cleric who was recently killed by a missile from an American drone aircraft in Yemen. “He wanted jihad, he sought it out and he found it,” Mr. Tukel said of Mr. Abdul-mutallab.
The prosecutor flashed on a large
screen an image of Mr. Abdulmutallab — before the plane episode — and a translation of parts of what Mr. Tukel described as a video message of martyrdom, which Qaeda elements released afterward in taking credit and giving praise for what had happened.
Courtesy: The Nation