DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A Nigerian man charged with trying to blow up a crowded Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day, 2009, with a bomb hidden in his underwear will go to trial Oct. 3, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 24, is charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and conspiring with others to kill 281 passengers and 11 crew members aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253. U.S investigators believe he received training and instructions from al-Qaida operatives in Yemen, beginning in August 2009.
Law enforcement officials believe Abdulmutallab tried to ignite a two-part concoction of the high explosive PETN and possibly a glycol-based liquid explosive that was hidden in his underwear. It set off popping sounds, smoke and some fire, but it did not detonate. Passengers and crew rushed to subdue Abdulmutallab and extinguish the flames.
Abdulmutallab faces life in prison if convicted. He has been in custody at a federal prison in Milan, Mich., for 13 months.
Federal Judge Nancy Edmunds set the trial date during a hearing Tuesday.
Abdulmutallab has pleaded not guilty, though at a court hearing in September where he fired his court-appointed defense attorneys, he suggested he might be ready to plead guilty to some charges.
He now is acting as his own lawyer, with attorney Anthony Chambers appointed by the court to assist him.
Chambers says they will use the next few months to review everything in this case.
“It is a difficult case and a difficult position, although we’ll find a way to work through it,” Chambers told reporters Tuesday.
Chambers said he has had problems with the Milan guards, in regard to his visiting Abdulmutallab.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.