DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Forty-seven people have made the final cut as prospective jurors in the trial of a Nigerian man who charged with a failed terrorist attack on a Detroit-bound plane. All were told to report to federal court Thursday.
There are 32 women and 15 men. A federal judge and lawyers wrapped up two full days of preliminary jury selection Wednesday.
“I can tell you, a lot of the potential jurors expressed concern about their own personal safety just by being a juror on this case, because it’s such a high-profile case,” reported WWJ Newradio 950’s Vickie Thomas, who was at the courthouse Wednesday. “One man actually mentioned a car bombing and that it happens in other counties and it can happen here, too, related to this case.”
The judge reassured jurors that every precaution will be taken to ensure their safety during the trial.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is charged with trying to destroy an Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight with a bomb in his underwear on Christmas 2009. Opening trial statements are set for next Tuesday.
The government said Abdulmutallab attacked Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day 2009 on behalf of al-Qaida.
The 24-year-old man is acting as his own lawyer but only questioned one potential juror. He has left the task to his court-appointed standby attorney, Anthony Chambers.
Abdulmutallab told the court Tuesday that a radical Islamic cleric killed by the U.S. military is alive and called the United States a cancer. Chambers Wednesday told Thomas he has advised his client not to make such comments.
Stay with WWJ and CBSDetroit.com for continuing coverage.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.