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October 12, 2011

"Underwear bomber" pleads guilty mid-trial, now on to sentencing

As detailed in this new New York Times piece, "Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian man accused of trying to blow up a commercial airliner on Christmas Day in 2009, abruptly pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to each of the eight counts against him, officials said."  Here is more:

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....

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. Abdulmutallab.

I assume that no formal plea deal was put together in order to get this plea to now happen, and I will be interested to read about just how this high-profile trial came to such an abrupt end today.  I am, of course, also interested to hear if everyone agrees with my views that (1) it is very likely that federal prosecutors will contend at sentencing that only an LWOP sentence is "sufficient" under 3553(a) for Abdulmutallab, and (2) pretty likely that Abdulmutallab will in fact get an LWOP sentence.

October 12, 2011 at 12:24 PM | Permalink


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He will be able to kill at after LWOP.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Oct 12, 2011 6:04:49 PM

Could we please have the usual suspects tell us about how this poor fellow was bludgeoned into pleading guilty by massive potential sentences and thuggery by the Justice Department? I can't wait to hear what the story will be this time.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Oct 13, 2011 8:02:49 AM

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