Detriot Trial of Underwear Bomber to Begin
The trial of Umar Farouk Umadullatab, charged with a failed attempt to bring down an airline en route to Detroit on Christmas Day, begins tomorrow.
Abdulmutallab is representing himself, with the assistance of standby counsel Anthony Chambers. I wonder how he'll do at cross-examining witnesses. "F. Lee Underpants" for the defense?
Will a conviction on all counts and a life sentence cause Republicans to admit that terror suspects can be successfully prosecuted in federal court? Don't hold your breath. [More...]
And how much will the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki influence the jurors? The media keeps publishing that al-Awlaki was a part of the failed bombing. This comes from law enforcement leaks of his post-arrest statements. But, that's not what he said. He never said al-Awlaki knew about his Christmas Day attack, just that he was his "teacher" and they had met and communicated, something al-Awlaki also acknowledged.
"Brother Mujahid Umar Farouk — may God relieve him — is one of my students, yes," Mr al-Awlaki said in the interview, which al-Jazeera reported on its website on Tuesday. "We had kept in contact but I didn't issue a fatwa to Umar Farouk for this operation."
The judge has granted the Government's motion to preclude expert testimony on mental condition and to preclude a duress defense. She also granted its motion to admit demonstrative evidence regarding Defendant’s explosive device.
As to evidence about al-Qaeda and terrorists, the Government will be allowed to call an al-Qaeda expert and a martyrdom expert. It can introduce the cover of the Summer, 2010 Inspire Magazine and an article about encryption software, but no other parts.
The government’s motion is GRANTED as to Al-Qaeda expert, martyrdom expert, video segments (1) and (2), redacted cover page of Summer 2010 Inspire magazine and multi-page article about encryption software in Summer 2010 Inspire magazine. The government’s motion is DENIED as to video segment (3) and all other proffered Inspire magazine materials.
The excluded video portrays:
the explosives expert detonating 200 grams of PETN, which is the amount of PETN that the explosives expert believes was in the bomb before it was detonated.
Standby defense counsel had argued:
Here, the government wants to introduce video recordings of demonstrations that were performed in a laboratory and in an open field. Defendant ABDULMUTALLAB allegedly attempted to detonate a bomb on an aircraft. Accordingly,the demonstrationw were not conducted under conditions "substantially similar" to those of the alleged event.
In addition, showing the jury demonstrations of an expert detonating V6 and 200 grams of PETN is unfairly prejudicial, unreliable, and irrelevant. The government has no knowledge of the amount of PETN that Defendant ABDULMUTALLAB had in his bomb. Accordingly, it cannot argue that Defendant ABDULMUTALLAB's bomb would have had the same explosive force as is depicted in the video recordings.
The videos that will come in:
An explosives expert combining potassium permanganate and ethylene glycol in a syringe to show that the combination of these two chemicals produces smoke and fire; and the explosives expert detonating 76 grams of PETN which is the amount of PETN recovered from the aircraft.
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