Underpants bomber rejects speedy trial

2010-10-14 22:13

Detroit - The Nigerian man accused of trying to blow up a US airliner with a bomb hidden in his underwear last year, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, on Thursday waived his right to a speedy trial.

Abdulmutallab, who last month had asked how he could plead guilty to some of the six counts he was charged with, said little during the brief hearing in federal court and agreed to give up his right to have a trial quickly.

"It's no problem," he told Judge Nancy Edmunds when she asked if he would waive that right, a common practice in major criminal trials.

She also asked if he had anything else to raise with the court during the pretrial conference, to which Abdulmutallab said, "No."

In September, Abdulmutallab fired his court-appointed lawyers and raised the possibility of pleading guilty to some charges. He was indicted in January on six counts, including trying to blow up the plane and attempted murder.

He could face life in prison if convicted. Edmunds scheduled another hearing for January 12.

Abdulmutallab, originally from Nigeria, boarded a Northwest Airlines jumbo jet flight from Amsterdam to Detroit and near the end of the trip he tried to ignite a bomb sewn into his underwear, prosecutors have said.

The explosives failed to fully detonate, he was subdued by the passengers and crew and the fire was contained.

He had been co-operating with US investigators for several months and told them that he received the device and training from al Qaeda militants in Yemen, US officials have said.

Abdulmutallab suffered severe burns from the explosives.

The failed attack led to further efforts by the Obama administration to strengthen US airline security.