DETROIT (WWJ) – The jury selection process gets underway this week in the case of a man accused of trying to blow-up a jetliner nearly two years ago.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is representing himself in the case, but the judge has appointed Anthony Chambers as “stand-by” attorney.
“The case is challenging, without question … probably one of the largest challenges that I’ve ever faced,” Chambers told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Stephanie Davis, in a one-on-one interview on Tuesday. “Not only being stand-by council, but the case in itself is a challenge,” he said.
The 24-year Nigerian man is accused of trying to ignite explosives hidden in his underwear while on a flight into Detroit on Christmas Day, 2009.
Hear Stephanie’s full interview with Chambers:
Abdulmutalla has claimed to be an Al-Qaeda operative, and Chambers acknowledges that this is a concern in selecting a jury.
“A person may have certain feelings about an issue. But whether or not they can overcome those issues and still be a fair and impartial juror. I believe is a separate issue,” he said.
Chambers is requesting a change of venue for the trial.
“I don’t think that there is an ideal location,” said Chambers. “Howerver, I do believe, or we’ve suggested in the pleadings, that someplace outside of the Metro Detroit area is appropriate, and in particular out of the state, in great part because we believe those residents who are most affected by the allegations are those who travel frequently and/or fly out of Detroit Metropolitan Airport,” he said.
Abdulmutalla is facing numerous charges, including conspiracy to commit terrorism.