Jury selected in ‘underwear bomber’ trial

A jury was chosen Oct. 6 in the trial of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the alleged “underwear bomber” of 2009.

Shortly after selecting 12 jurors and four alternates yesterday, one of the initial jurors was dismissed because she was a women native to Abdulmutallab’s home country of Nigeria. The jury consists of nine women — six black and two Asian — and three white men.

Abdulmutallab, a well-educated 24-year-old from a wealthy family, was a passenger on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 to Detroit on Christmas Day 2009. Just seven minutes before the jet landed carrying 279 passengers and 11 crew members, he allegedly tried to detonate chemicals hidden in his underwear. Upon seeing flames, passengers and crew subdued Abdulmutallab.

The U.S. government suspects the terrorist group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was behind the attack. Abdulmutallab has pleaded not guilty to eight charges including conspiracy to commit terrorism, use of a weapon of mass destruction and possession of a destructive device in furtherance of an act of violence.

Abdulmutallab is set to represent himself in the case, telling U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds that he wants to give the opening and closing arguments himself. The opening statements in the trial are scheduled to begin this Tuesday.