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'Underwear bomber' wants new lawyer

Dec. 20, 2011 at 4:24 PM
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DETROIT, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- The man who admitted trying to blow up a plane as it approached the Detroit airport has asked a federal judge to appoint a male Muslim to represent him.

While Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab did not ask for a specific lawyer, he suggested Elsayed Mostafa, a lawyer based in Dearborn, Mich., The Detroit News reported. Mostafa said he will represent Abdulmutallab if U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds appoints him.

"I find there is more understanding when the person is of the same religion," Abdulmutallab said in a letter delivered to the court Monday.

Abdulmutallab, who pleaded guilty mid-trial to setting off explosives in his underwear, told Edmunds that Anthony Chambers, who was advising him while he represented himself, had not met with him and had lied to him.

Edmunds scheduled a hearing for Jan. 6, six days before Abdulmutallab's scheduled sentencing.

Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian trained in Yemen as an al-Qaida agent, was arrested at Detroit Metro Airport on Christmas Day 2009. He set off his "underwear bomb" on a flight from London, but it failed to do any significant damage.

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