Jury finalized in case against alleged terrorist

Oct 6, 2011

Update 3:02 pm:

The demographics are now in on the jury. With the last-minute change that took the Nigerian woman out of the mix, it looks like this:

The 12-member jury:

  • Three white men
  • Six white women
  • Two black women
  • One Indian woman

The alternates:

  • One white man
  • One black woman
  • Two white women

Speaking outside the courthouse after the jury was seated, Abdulmutallab's stand-by counsel, Anthony Chambers, said he's disappointed the jury does not represent a cross-section of the community.

"Understanding that, obviously we’ll go forward but we’re very disappointed in the jury pool," he said.

Abdulmutallab is expected to let the court know by tomorrow whether he plans to deliver the opening statement at trial, which starts next Tuesday.

Update 11:58 am:

A last-minute snafu. There is an unknown issue with one of the jurors, and after a lengthy sidebar with the attorneys Judge Edmunds dismissed the juror, a woman from Nigeria. That leaves 15 jurors for now. Judge Edmunds says the court will try to get one of the four people who were dismissed to come back on Tuesday so that there will still be four alternates.

Update 11:30 a.m.:

A jury has been seated. Judge Nancy Edmunds reminded the jurors not to listen, read or watch coverage of the case while the trial is under way. The judge told jurors they will be allowed to take notes during the trial.

The 16 jurors – four of them alternates – then took an oath and were excused until the start of the trial, next Tuesday.

Abdulmutallab told the judge he plans to let the court know tomorrow whether he plans to deliver the opening statement at trial.

Update 10:43 a.m.:

Judge Nancy Edmunds gave jurors one last opportunity to try and get out of jury service for the trial.

"I’m asking one last time if there’s any reason you feel you could not serve as a juror in the case and be fair and impartial,” the judge said.

One juror spoke up. He is the only black man in the jury pool.

"I’m not one to condemn anyone," said Juror 169.

Judge Edmunds asked if he was saying he could not render a verdict in this case based on the evidence.

"I would say that I’m a mercy person and I would consider that – mercy – before I would consider condemnation," said the juror.

Jurors were then excused from the courtroom for a sidebar. The stand-by attorney for the defense urged the judge to keep him in the pool. Judge Edmunds agreed, with serious reservations about the juror's remarks, and about the fact that he's been late both days.

Prosecutor Jonathan Tukel is arguing for the juror to be excused. Judge Edmunds said the government can use one of its peremptory challenges - those are limited opportunities attorneys can use to strike jurors from the pool.

10:19 a.m.:

The final stage in jury selection is under way in the case against the man accused of trying to blow up a Detroit-bound flight on January 2009.

There are 47 prospective jurors in the pool, although as of 10:10 a.m. three had failed to show up.

Judge Nancy Edmunds this morning said she’ll allow the defense to strike three additional jurors without cause. She’s giving the government the opportunity to strike one additional juror. That gives the defense 15 and the government 10. Ultimately, the goal is to seat 12 jurors and four alternates.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab will represent himself at trial, although he has been appointed stand-by counsel. He faces life in prison if he's convicted.

Come back to michiganradio.org for updates throughout the day.