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Opening Arguments Begin In ‘Underwear Bomber’ Trial

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In this courtroom sketch, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (L) stands with his standby counsel Anthony Chambers (C) and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel (R), before U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds in federal court in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carole Kabrin)

In this courtroom sketch, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (L) stands with his standby counsel Anthony Chambers (C) and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel (R), before U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds in federal court in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carole Kabrin)

vickiethomas2 Vickie Thomas
Vickie Thomas is the City Beat Reporter for WWJ Newsradio 950. She was...
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DETROIT (WWJ) – The standby lawyer for Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has waived his opening statement to jurors until later in the trial.

The 24-year-old Nigerian man stands accused of attempting to blow up a Christmas 2009 flight from Amsterdam to Detroit with a bomb hidden in his underwear.

Abdulmutallab is representing himself, but did give attorney Anthony Chambers, who will assist him during the trial, authorization to deliver the opening argument before the jury of nine women and three men.

Chambers, however, did not speak on Tuesday, although he reserved the right to make a statement at another point.

WWJ Newsradio 950’s Vickie Thomas spoke with political analyst Charlie Langton, who was among those confused by that decision.

“I would have made an opening statement because I want to get my road map out there. I want the jury to at least have some idea of what I’m gonna say,” said Langton. “It could be a strategy move, obviously, we’ll have to see how the trial develops.”

As for the prosecution, Langton said they nailed it.

“What I thought was very interesting is there were six mentions of the fact that Mr.  Abdulmutallab admitted to some very crucial parts of this entire case,” he said.

Thomas spoke also with Detroit political consultant Adolph Mongo, who is part of Chambers’ team.

“Unfortunately this is the kind of trial that, you know, people … it either makes them or breaks them as to how they’re gonna be an attorney,” said Mongo. “But I think [Chambers] is prepared, has a good team behind him and it’s gonna be a long and drawn-out battle.”

Tuesday morning Federal Judge Nancy Edmunds denied a defense request to prevent prosecutors from using the word “bomb.”

Mongo responded to those who say the case seems to be a slam dunk for the government.

“You know what, and I’m not an attorney, but all I’m saying is it’s gonna be tough, and as long as we can have our day in court, you know, you go with the flow,” Mongo said. “We don’t look at any case as a slam dunk, and you play to win.”

Also early Tuesday, an attorney was asked to leave the courtroom because he was a passenger on that flight and could be called as a witness.

Stay with WWJ Newsradio 950 for the latest.

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