DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A 12-member jury and four alternates have been selected in the Detroit trial of a Nigerian charged with trying to destroy an international flight with a bomb on behalf of al-Qaida.
Lawyers and a judge quickly moved through the final pool of more than 40 people Thursday after two long days of interviews.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is charged with using a bomb in his underwear to try to bring down Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam on Christmas 2009. Nearly 300 people were on board.
WWJ’s Vickie Thomas reported that some of those would-be jurors said they are worried about their safety.
One woman coming back for selection said being a juror would be stressful and the high-profile nature of the case makes her uneasy. She refered to the outrage over the verdict in the Casey Anthony case and said people were mad at the jurors.
The judge reassured jurors that every precaution will be taken to ensure their safety during the trial.
Twenty-four-year-old Abdulmutallab is representing himself with assistance from Detroit attorney Anthony Chambers.
“I think It’s a difficult process. However, it is a process wherein we hope at least all the prospective jurors are honest and we can try to get the best possible information to make decisions,” Chambers said.
Abdulmutallab may call Taylor attorney Kurt Haskell, who was a passenger on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas 2009. Haskell’s name was disclosed in court Thursday by Chambers
Haskell believes the bomb in Abdulmutallab’s underwear was fake. He claims the young Nigerian was escorted onto the plane without a passport and has a strong entrapment defense.
Abdulmutallab sat very quietly in court Wednesday, letting attorneys question potential jurors for him — a contrast to Tuesday when he called the U.S. a “cancer” and claimed a radical Muslim cleric still is alive, despite a fatal strike last week by the U.S. military in Yemen.
The long, two-day process produced difficult yet heartfelt admissions from people struggling for answers in an era of global terrorism.
“I don’t understand the hatred. I don’t understand it,” a woman said. “Why is there such hatred or dislike for America?”
Opening statements in the trial are scheduled for next Tuesday.
Stay with WWJ and CBSDetroit.com for continuing coverage.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.