Underwear Bomber Pleads Guilty in Surprise Turn of Events

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Would-be underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has pleaded guilty a day after prosecutors gave opening statements in his Detroit federal trial for attempted murder.

Abdulmutallab was charged with a failed attempt to blow up a flight on Christmas Day 2009 by lighting a bomb in his underwear. He surprised the courtroom when he returned from a recess today and pleaded guilty to all eight charges, including attempted murder, attempted use of weapons of mass destruction, and conspiracy to commit terrorism. The Detroit News, CNN and ABC Action News have stories.

According to the Detroit News, “The plea was unexpected but ended a criminal trial filled with unexpected outbursts by Abdulmutallab, who exhibited defiant behavior, fired his legal team, mulled a guilty plea last year and opted to defend himself.” Abdulmutallab was represented in the aborted trial by stand-by legal counsel Anthony Chambers.

Abdulmutallab told the judge that the bomb was a “blessed weapon to save the lives of innocent Muslims,” the Associated Press reports.

Sentencing is set for Jan. 12.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds rejected two defense requests, the Detroit News reported in an earlier story. She refused to bar prosecutors from referring to the underwear bomb as a “bomb” or explosive device. And she refused to block prosecutors from showing a photo of Abdulmutallab’s burned genitals.

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