Accused underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab wants his terrorism trial moved out of Michigan and wants a federal judge to keep statements he gave to FBI agents kept away from jurors.
In a series of motions filed Friday, an attorney assisting the Nigerian national with his defense hinted at misconduct by FBI officials. According to one motion, they interviewed Abdulmutallab in a hospital room over the objection of medical staff, who said he was under the influence of a painkiller called fentanyl. In addition, wrote attorney Anthony Chambers, agents failed to read Abdulmutallab his Miranda rights.
In a separate motion, Chambers acknowledged Abdulmutallab "made incriminating statements" during plea negotiations with federal officials, after they promised nothing from those talks would be used against him at trial. It's not clear whether prosecutors plan to use any such statements when the trial begins in October. The motion seeks to ensure that cannot happen.
"Allowing the government to use these statements at trial will violate the government's agreement with Defendant," Chambers wrote.
The motion to move the trial cites the intense publicity surrounding the attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day 2009. Abdulmutallab was detained by fellow passengers after a bomb sewn into his underwear started smoking but failed to detonate.
He suffered burns as a result, requiring hospitalization and pain medication.
In yet another motion, Chambers asked for access to grand jury records, which rarely are released, because he claims federal agents made "inconsistent statements" in different reports and witnesses may have "embellished facts and contradicted their own reports" during grand jury testimony.
The motion did not offer examples.