Published November 17, 2014
A lawyer advising a Nigerian man who is accused of trying to use explosives in his underwear to blow up an international flight will get access to the evidence, a judge ruled Thursday over the defendant's objections.
The 15-minute hearing was the first since Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab sacked his four-lawyer defense team last month and said he wanted to represent himself on charges stemming from the attempted Christmas Day attack.
He said it wasn't necessary for his standby counsel, Anthony Chambers, to look at the evidence. U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds disagreed and ordered prosecutors to share it.
"I'm overriding you on this. ... You don't have legal training," Edmunds said. "You don't know the rules of evidence, the rules of criminal procedure."
Chambers, who was appointed only to advise Abdulmutallab, needs to see the evidence to answer any questions, the judge said.
Abdulmutallab, 24, had suggested at a hearing last month that he wanted to plead guilty to some charges. There were no such remarks this time.
"We're taking a fresh look at the case," Chambers said after the hearing.
Abdulmutallab is charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253, which was headed from Amsterdam to Detroit with nearly 300 passengers and crew aboard. U.S. investigators believe he received training and instructions from al-Qaida operatives in Yemen.
Abdulmutallab is being held at a federal prison in Milan, Mich. Chambers said his family in Nigeria remains "very supportive."
The judge set the next hearing for Jan. 12.
Associated Press Writer Jeff Karoub contributed to this report.