Jury selection got underway this morning in the highly-anticipated trial of a 24-year-old Nigerian student who is accused of trying to blow up a Detroit-bound jetliner on Christmas Day 2009 with a bomb hidden in his underwear, says the Detroit Free Press. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and his “standby” lawyer, Anthony Chambers, and prosecutors watched the prospective jurors, who assembled in a first floor meeting room, from a two-way closed circuit television monitor from Judge Nancy Edmunds' courtroom. Abdulmutallab shouted something unintelligible from his seat at the defense table.
In court documents filed last month, Abdulmutallab asked the court to release him from prison, arguing that “all Muslims should only be ruled by the law of the Quran.” Authorities have said Abdulmutallab is an al-Qaida operative who trained in Yemen for the suicide mission, which was foiled when a passenger subdued him He is facing numerous criminal charges, including conspiracy to commit terrorism, and faces life in prison if convicted. In September, Abdulmutallab fired his government-appointed lawyers and suggested that he wanted to plead guilty to some charges. He has said nothing about a plea since.