DETROIT (WXYZ) – Suspected terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has been arraigned on several charges in Federal Court in Downtown Detroit.
Abdulmutallab’s arraignment and detention hearing took place at 2:00 p.m. in the court of Judge Paul Borman. A not guilty plea was entered on behalf of the Nigerian man. The hearing lasted only a couple of minutes. Abdulmutallab’s lawyer told the judge that his client would stand mute against the charges. The U.S. Magistrate then entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.
Action News reporter Heather Catallo was among the media in the courtroom for the hearing.
Media outlets from all over the country have converged on Detroit for Friday’s hearing in the attempted Christmas Day terror attack.
Friday’s hearing comes on the heals of the determination that Abdulmutallab met with radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and other al-Qaida leaders while he was in Yemen. Al-Awlaki is the cleric who exchanges e-mails with Major Nidal Hasan, the army psychologist accused of killing 13 people during a mass shooting at Fort Hood in November.
It has also been revealed that federal officials learned about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab while he was in the air and planned to question the accused terrorist about his extremist links when he landed in Detroit.
The Los Angeles Times reports the discovery was based on information that, if realized sooner, would have led to officials questioning Abdulmutallab in Amsterdam. A law enforcement official quoted by the Times says it came from a database that included information about concerns the State Department had about Abdulmutallab.
However, the paper says it’s not clear if the information that triggered the concerns was strong enough to make officials in Amsterdam search Abdulmutallab or keep him off the flight.