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Wed September 14, 2011
Outbursts mark "underwear bomber" hearing
Click here to see a copy of the juror questionnaire
Update 3:37 pm:
Judge Nancy Edmunds has recessed the hearing for the day. Testimony will begin at 9 am tomorrow, when the defense cross-examines Dr. Eugene Schoener. Schoener is a professor of psychology and pharmacology at Wayne State University. He testified that the dosage of the narcotic fentanyl given to Abdulmutallab while he was treated for burns at U of M Hospital should not have hampered his ability to answer federal agents' questions. Agents conducted the interview about a half-hour after the last dose of fentanyl was administered, and Abdulmutallab's stand-by counsel is trying to have the statements suppressed at trial.
An unusual hearing is under way in Detroit - where final pre-trial motions are being heard in the case of the so-called "underwear bomber."
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab shouted "Sheik Osama is alive!" upon entering the courtroom. He let loose with two other outbursts before shouting "Allahu Akbar," or "God is great" when he was introduced via closed-circuit television to potential jurors. He also put a foot up on the table when U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Edmunds asked him to stand.
Edmunds denied Abdulmutallab's request to be released. He says only the laws of the Quran should apply to him. Edmunds is expected to rule on some other outstanding issues today as well. Those include the defense’s request to change the trial’s venue, and to suppress statements Abdulmutallab made after being given a powerful pain medication at U of M Hospital.
A nurse from the hospital's burn unit, Julia Longenecker, testified that Abdulmutallab was lucid even shortly after he was given the drug. FBI Special Agent Tim Waters questioned Abdulmutallab at the hospital. He testified that the defendant was alert and coherent during the hospital interview. Waters said he chose not to read Miranda rights because he feared it would slow or even halt the interview process. Waters testified that he was trying to get as much information as possible as quickly as possible because of fears of an immediate threat of similar bombing attempts on other airliners.
Also today, about 300 potential jurors will be briefed on the case and fill out questionnaires. The idea is to speed the jury selection process, set to start in early October.