An unmarked Chevrolet Tahoe on Friday entered the Theodore Levin United States Courthouse as a United States Marshal looked on.
DETROIT -- Terror suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab pled not guilty Friday in a federal court in Detroit on a six-count indictment for allegedly attempting to blow up a Detroit-bound plane and murder its 279 passengers and 11 crew members.
Mr. Abdulmutallab entered the courtroom just before 2 p.m. Friday shackled by his feet and wearing a white T-shirt, khaki pants and blued shoes.
He is accused of strapping explosives in his pants that failed to detonate and instead set him on fire on a Christmas day Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. His trip originated in Nigeria, where his father had earlier alerted authorities to his radical turn.
U.S. officials had information that could have led them to block Mr. Abdulmutallab from boarding the plane, Obama administration officials said yesterday, but intelligence analysts failed to assemble the picture of the plot. Representatives of the militant group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, based in Yemen, have claimed credit for organizing the attack.
Judge Mark A. Randon presided Friday, asking the suspect a series of questions during the brief hearing about his mental state and fitness to stand trial Friday. When asked, he told a judge he had taken pain medication in the last day.
Mr. Abdulmutallab made his first appearance in court amid crowds of journalists. Scores of Muslim Americans held up anti-terrorism mantras on posters and waved large American flags outside the coutroom. A handful of Nigerian-born Americans joined in, with signs such as "Nigerians Are Against Terrorism."
Mr. Abdulmutallab will remain detained but has the right to a hearing on the matter. His next appearance in court was not immediately set Friday.
No new details were provided in an indictment earlier this week as to how the suspect was able to board a plane in Amsterdam with two types of explosives hidden in his pants, or how he gained a U.S. visa.