Underwear bomber seeks new U.S. lawyer
The young Nigerian man dubbed the “underwear bomber” after trying to blow up a packed US-bound airliner wants a new lawyer to help him with an upcoming sentencing hearing.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 25, represented himself in the high profile case and pleaded guilty on the second day of his October trial against the advice of his court-appointed standby counsel.
He faces a mandatory minimum of life in prison without parole after pleading guilty to eight terrorism charges related to the plot to kill 289 people on a transatlantic flight using explosives hidden in his underwear.
In a letter posted on the court’s docket Monday, Abdulmutallab told Judge Nancy Edmunds that his relationship with standby counselAnthony Chambers, a prominent Detroit criminal lawyer, “is strained to say the least.”
He complained that Chambers hasn’t visited him since the trial, sending instead associates to help prepare for the Jan 12 sentencing hearing.
He also accused Chambers and his associates of lying to him and treating him “with contempt.”
He asked Edmunds to appoint a Muslim lawyer, writing “I find there is more understanding when the person is of the same religion.”
Edmunds set a hearing to deal with the motion for January 6.
The botched plot, which US officials say was the work of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, failed because the explosives did not fully detonate and instead caused a fireball.
Passengers and crew members were able to restrain Abdulmutallab and put out the fire as the Northwest flight from Amsterdam made an emergency landing in Detroit on December 25, 2009.
The incident triggered global alarm and led the United States to adopt stringent new screening and security measures.
The reputation of the US intelligence services also took a hit because Abdulmutallab’s father, a prominent Nigerian banker, had warned the CIA about his son’s growing radicalization.