The Nigerian Juror Dismissed From Abdulmutallab’s Trial

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Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab

Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab

7 October 2011

An unnamed juror from Nigeria was yesterday dismissed just 30 minutes after she chosen for the trial of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, which will begin in earnest on Tuesday with opening statements.

Abdulmutallab, 24, is accused of trying to bring down a plane over Detroit with a bomb in his underwear on Christmas day.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds told attorneys yesterday that there was a “problem with a juror” shortly after a jury and alternates were selected for the trial.

Edmunds then dismissed the juror who, like Abdulmutallab, is Nigeria. Edmunds didn’t explain the dismissal in court and lawyers hadn’t objected to keeping the woman in the jury pool a day earlier.

Meanwhile, prosecutors and a lawyer for Abdulmutallab have picked 12 jurors and four alternates from among a pool of 47 people who underwent questioning for possible bias in the case.

Many of the prospective jurors had indicated in questionnaires that they are inclined to believe Abdulmutallab is guilty. But they pledged to set aside any preconceived notions and give the defendant a fair trial.

The 12-person panel, made up of three men and nine women, includes a homemaker, a housekeeper, a nurse’s aide and the wife of a Baptist pastor. Of the 12, only two are black.

The selection capped three days of sometimes contentious questioning of eastern Michigan residents summoned to Detroit to be considered for the trial.

There was some last-minute drama when the lone black man on the jury, a cattle and pig farmer from Monroe County, showed up late for court. When he arrived, he told Edmunds he couldn’t sit in judgment on Abdulmutallab lest he be judged by God.

The trial, which is expected to take four weeks, will run daily from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

This is the second major terror trial to take place in Detroit.

Abdulmutallab has insisted on representing himself, but his standby lawyer has done most of the heavy lifting. Abdulmutallab questioned only one prospective juror. Edmunds gave him until 4 p.m. tomorrow to indicate whether he plans to make his own opening statement.

 

 

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