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Tue October 4, 2011
Jury selection in "underwear bomber" case begins
Update 5:15 pm:
Judge Nancy Edmunds has recessed today's proceedings. The count so far: 20 jurors made it into the pool of potential jurors and will proceed to the final round of jury selection - 16 women, and four men. Seven were excused - three of them for bias. Two were excused for job-related reasons, one for mental health. The final juror who was excused has a wife with medical needs and expressed some frustration with his previous experiences with the courts.
The 13 jurors who were not questioned today will be questioned tomorrow, and 27 more jurors will also be called. Judge Edmunds is looking to have about three dozen prospective jurors in the pool for the second, final phase of jury selection - tentatively set for Thursday afternoon.
The first phase of jury selection is under way for the man accused of trying to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas 2009.
So far five of the 17 jurors questioned have been excused.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab shouted, "Sheik Anwar is alive!" upon entering the courtroom. He also said "I will defend Muhammad," and likened the U.S. to a "cancer."
Judge Nancy Edmunds urged Abdulmutallab to change out of his prison clothes to make a better impression on potential jurors. After a brief back-and-forth, the defendant was escorted downstairs and returned wearing a dark blazer over a tan robe with white gym socks and wing tips.
Three of the jurors who were excused said they would have trouble putting aside their belief that Abdulmutallab is guilty.
"I shouldn't be this way, but this one just bothers me," said one. "I just have this guilty verdict in me."