Underwear Bomber Goes On Trial
Nigerian accused of attempting to blow up Detroit-bound airliner will act as his own attorney.
A Detroit courtroom was packed this morning as the trial of the so-called "Underwear Bomber" began.
The first day of the trial began with an unexpected twist.
The self-proclaimed Al-Qaeda operative, who is acting as his own defense lawyer, did not deliver an opening statement.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab faces eight charges including conspiracy to commit terrorism, attempted murder and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction after what the FBI says was an attempt to detonate explosives hidden in his underwear during a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Night 2009.
Abdulmutallab and his "stand-by" lawyer Anthony Chambers opted not to make an opening statement, but will reserve that right for later in the trial.
Their defense will likely center on the idea that Abdulmutallab never actually tried to kill anyone, that the explosives were not powerful enough to bring down the plane, and that he was instead trying to draw attention to and advance his extremist beliefs.
Prosecutors will counter with physical evidence including the charred wall and seat from the plane and the burned remnants of the underwear.
They are also expected to call in witnesses from the plane and explosives experts to testify about the deadly potential of the PETN sewn into his underwear.
Prosecutors will also use Abdulmutallab's own words from a 50-minute interview after the alleged attack when he apparently told federal agents details of the plot and his intentions.
The judge has said he expects the trial to last three or four weeks.
If found guilty Abdulmutallab could be sentenced to life in federal prison.