Abdulmutallab trial likely in Detroit

Dec. 29, 2009 at 11:57 AM
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DETROIT, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- Should terrorism suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab be put on trial, it would likely happen in Detroit, legal experts say.

Abdulmutallab was arrested in Michigan on Christmas Day after authorities said he attempted to destroy a Northwest Airlines flight by igniting an incendiary device he had hidden on his body as the jetliner was preparing to land at Detroit Metro Airport.

The Detroit Free Press reported Tuesday that legal experts contend there's no apparent reason to move any potential trial from U.S. District Court in downtown Detroit.

Wayne State University law professor and former federal prosecutor Peter Henning told the newspaper the destination of Flight 253 would probably place the trial in Detroit, but even more, the alleged crime appears to have been committed during flight over Michigan.

"If he was 20 minutes" from landing, "he was probably over Michigan" not another state, Henning told the Free Press. "This is where it will be tried."

Agreeing was Bloomfield Hills. Mich., defense attorney James Burdick, who said if he were representing Abdulmutallab, he would likely seek to have the trial moved from Detroit.

"But I'm not sure a change of venue would help," he said. "In these cases, they are national stories with unrelenting media."

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